Cambridge University: Israel is a ‘Rogue State’

On March 5, 2015, one of UK’s prestigious University of Cambridge voted overwhelmingly in favor of the motion, “This House Believes Israel is a ‘Rogue State’,” at the Cambridge Union Society. The motion was proposed by British journalist Lauren Booth, sister-in-law of Tony Blair, ex-prime minister of UK. She converted to Islam in 2010. Listen the debate below.

The Cambridge Union Society was founded in 1815. Its most notable past speakers included UK’s prime minister Winston Churchill, US president and Hollywood star Ronald Reagan, Buddhist spiritual leader Dalai Lama and Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi.

In a packed debating chamber 51% students voted in favor of the motion, 19% voted against it while 30% abstained.

The proposition team included American academic professor Norman Finkelstein, author of one the best book on HolocaustThe Holocaust Industry; Palestinian academic professor Ghada Karmi (University of Exeter) and Jewish human rights activist Ben White.

The opposition team was lead by Vivian Wineman, president of UK’s powerful Jewish Lobby, the Board of Deputies of British Jews. She was assisted by Hannah Weisfelt, director of Israel lobby Jewish group Yachad and Davis Lewin, deputy director of another Israeli advocacy Jewish group, Henry Jackson Society.

Ben White’s views of the pathetic rants made by Wineman, Weisfelt and Lewin can be read here.

American academic and former special envoy of UNHRC in Palestine Richard Falk (Jewish), Talmiz Ahmad, former Indian diplomat, Gregory Shupak, lecturer at University of Guelph-Humber, Toronto, and Israeli academic professor IIan Pappe (University of Exeter, UK) have all called Israel Rogue State.

On December 4, 2013, American Jewish scholar, Dr. Noam Chomsky, called both the US and the Zionist entity Rogue Statefor their double standards over Iran’s nuclear program.

There are in fact two rogue states operating in the region, resorting to aggression and terror and violating international law at will: the United States and its Israeli client. Iran has indeed carried out an act of aggression: conquering three Arab islands under the US-backed Shah. But any terror credibly attributed to Iran pales in comparison with that of the rogue states,” Chomsky said.

Stephen Lendman, an American Jewish writer, called Israel rogue state on December 23, 2013.

Israel is no democracy. It never was. For sure it’s not now. Its current government is its worse ever. It’s dominated by right-wing (fanatic Zionist Jews),” he said.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

UN Expert Accuses Israel of Ethnic Cleansing, Apartheid

Local Editor A UN rights expert who probes the Zionist entity’s conduct towards Palestinians accused Israel on Friday of a campaign of ethnic cleansing and apartheid policies. “The realities on the ground are worsening from the point of view of both international law and from the point of view of the Palestinian people,” Richard Falk, an 82-year-old American who is an emeritus law professor at Princeton University, told reporters. UN expert Richard Falk Falk is due to step down this month as the UN Human Rights Council’s monitor for the Palestinian territories taken over by occupation enemy in 1967 — the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East al-Quds (Jerusalem). Since he was appointed in 2008, he said, Israel has built more settlements in Palestinian territories, imposed collective punishment on Gaza, demolished homes and repeatedly deployed excessive force. He also accused Israel of a “systematic and continued effort to change the ethnic composition of East Jerusalem” by voiding Palestinians’ residence permits, confiscating property and allowing unlawful Israeli settlements there. “This is systematic discrimination on the basis of ethnic identity, with the objective of creating a different demographic in Jerusalem,” he said, calling it a form of “ethnic cleansing”. “All of these features that are objectionable from the point of view of international law have continued and intensified during my six years,” he said. “What is called occupation is now more widely understood to be a form of annexation, the embodiment of apartheid in the sense that there’s a discriminatory dual system of law, giving legal protection to the Israeli settlers and subjecting the Palestinian population under occupation to a continuing existence without rights,” he added. Falk has repeatedly locked horns with Israel, the United States, Canada and some human rights groups for positions including labeling Israel’s 2008 offensive against Gaza a war crime, and urging a boycott of companies helping Israel’s settlement drive in the Palestinian territories. Washington has said he “should quit” his UN role, which like other rights monitors at the world body he holds on an unpaid, voluntary basis. Falk has brushed off the criticism. “Anyone who is 10 percent objective would come to similar conclusions about international law and international morality to the conclusions I’ve reached on the main issues that are in contention,” he said.

Source: AFP
21-03-2014 – 15:22 Last updated 21-03-2014

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RT’S THE TRUTHSEEKER: LEAKED US REGIME CHANGE MANUAL, ADMITS UKRAIN

MONDAY, DECEMBER 30, 2013 AT 12:19AM GILAD ATZMON

Happy Xmas Ukraine! Openly pro-Nazi rioters ripping up paving stones for weapons and driving bulldozers at people get sweets from America’s Asst. Secretary of State, the surprisingly long list of countries where the US attempts regime change under cover of ‘human rights’; and George Clooney becomes the Pentagon’s sexy new weapon.

Seek truth from facts with Humanitarian Imperialism author Jean Bricmont, UN Human Rights Rapporteur Richard Falk, political analyst Richard Becker, Asia Times’ Pepe Escobar, On Immoral Interventionism author Gilad Atzmon, and ‘worth 500,000 dead kids’ Madeleine Albright.

Richard Falk Interview… Stealing Palestine

20 December, 2013

Creeping annexation, ethnic cleansing and ‘the politics of fragmentation’ inflicted by criminals who strut the world stage and thumb their noses at international law

As the international conspiracy to rob Palestinians of their freedom and homeland is exposed a little more each day, observers and activists still puzzle over the duplicity of the United Nations in the decades-long illegal occupation and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian Territories, not to mention the true intent of Palestinian leaders. So when Richard Falk, professor of international law at Princeton and UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Occupied Palestine, visited Norwich recently, I took the opportunity to put some questions to him.

SL – Can we start with the so-called peace process, please? Does the resignation of the Palestinian negotiation team, and the reasons given, effectively end the already discredited ‘peace talks’? Should the Palestinians walk away or carry on playing a pointless game for another 6 months?

Richard Falk – It is difficult to know how to assess the current suspension of peace talks. The Palestinian Authority seems always ready to bend to pressure, although with some outer limits. In this respect, the future of this phase of ‘peace talks’ will be determined not in Ramallah, but in Washington and Tel Aviv. It should be evident 20 years after Oslo that the peace talks serve Israel’s interest in ‘creeping annexation’ of the West Bank and ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem, while diminishing Palestinian prospects, and even harming the Palestinian image by disinformation that blames the Palestinian side for the breakdown of the process when and however it occurs. It would be a welcome sign of PA independence if they come forth and denounce this peace process for what it is.
The sad reality is that this is almost certain not to happen, and more likely than not the period of negotiations will be extended beyond the nine months set aside, on the entirely false claim that the parties are on the verge of resolving all their differences, and with a little patience, the prospects for a deal are quite bright.

SL – The negotiators said they were resigning because of the ‘unprecedented escalation’ of settlement building and because the Israeli government wasn’t serious about a two-state solution and had failed to fulfill commitments given before the present talks were resumed. I now read that Erekat has already been back to Washington for more talks with Tzipi Livni (Israel’s lead negotiator), Kerry and US envoy Indyk. Far from denouncing the process they are once again endorsing it, which makes your point.

In any case, how acceptable is it for a weak, demoralised and captive people like the Palestinians to be forced to the negotiation table with their brutal occupier under the auspices of a US administration seen by many people as too dishonest to play the part of peace broker?

Richard Falk – Even if the United States was acting in good faith, for which there is no evidence, its dual role as Israel’s unconditional ally and as intermediary would subvert the credibility of a negotiating process. In fact, the US Government signals its partisanship by White House appointments of individuals overtly associated with the AIPAC lobbying group as Special Envoys to oversee the negotiations such as Dennis Ross and Martin Indyk. It is hard to imagine the fury in the West that would exist if the conditions were reversed, and the UN proposed a one-sided ‘peace process’ biased in favour of the Palestinians. The unsatisfactory nature of the current framework of negotiations is further flawed by weighting the process in favour of Israel, which enjoys a position of hard power dominance.
“Palestinians’ main grievances are all reinforced by an objective interpretation of international law”

SL – There can be no peace without justice, so is it right for final status ‘negotiations’ to be held before competing claims are tested in the courts and the many outstanding rulings under international law and UN resolutions are implemented? In any case, shouldn’t a neutral UN peace commission be supervising the final settlement of this long struggle, rather than the US or the Quartet?

Richard Falk – Yes, if the priority were to attain a just and sustainable peace, a framework would be developed that had two characteristics: neutral as between the two sides and sensitive to the relevance of rights under international law. Such sensitivity would favour the Palestinians as their main grievances are all reinforced by an objective interpretation of international law, including in relation to settlements, Jerusalem, refugees, borders, water.

SL – How much legitimacy does President Abbas enjoy, having overstayed his term of office?

Richard Falk – This question of political legitimacy of President Abbas turns on the subjective mood of the Palestinian people. Because the PA is a political entity so vulnerable to pressures and manipulation, the status of its presiding leader seems to be widely seen as a secondary matter of limited significance. When President Abbas has articulated the case for Palestinian statehood during the last three years at the United Nations he gained considerable personal respect among most governments and for many Palestinians. He seems a leader caught between the realities of his compromised position and the occasional opportunities to express the national ambitions and support the rights of the Palestinian people. The division with Hamas, and the failure to find a formula to restore Palestinian unity in relation to the West is a further source of weakness for PA claims to represent the Palestinian people as a whole. The failure to hold scheduled elections highlights the insufficiency of PA and Palestinian leadership.

SL – Do you believe a two-state solution is still feasible?

Richard Falk – No. I think Oslo has been dead for some years, primarily due to Israeli policies designed to encroach upon the remnant of Palestinian territorial and symbolic rights, especially by the continuously expanding settlement archipelago, the unlawful separation wall built on occupied territory, and the demographic manipulations in East Jerusalem. The pretence that Oslo plus the Roadmap point the only way to peace serves American and Israeli purposes in quieting growing complaints about the persistence of the conflict. It represents a diplomatic attempt to deflect criticism, and to divert attention from Palestinian grievances and a growing global solidarity movement.

SL – The 1947 UN Partition was unworkable as well as immoral. Shouldn’t the whole territory (of historic Palestine) be returned to the melting pot and shared out more sensibly? Shouldn’t Jerusalem and Bethlehem become an international city, or ‘corpus separatum’, as the UN originally intended?

Richard Falk – For me the fundamental flaw with the partition proposals contained in GA Resolution 181 was the failure to consult the people resident in Palestine at the time. A secondary flaw was the unfairness of awarding 55% of the territory to the Jewish presence as represented by the Zionist movement which in 1947 accounted for only one-third of the population owning around 6% of the land . This idea of determining the future of Palestine by outsiders, even if well intentioned, which seems not to have ever been the case, is incompatible with the historical trend toward resolving the future of peoples by way of the dynamics of self-determination. In Palestine’s case, at least from the issuance of the Balfour Declaration onward, this effort to control the future of Palestine has been justly condemned as the last major example of ‘settler colonialism.’ It is a particularly acute example as the settlers have no mother country to which to return, and take a poker player’s high risk posture of ‘all in.’
“There is no authoritative explanation of ICC passivity in face of the Israeli criminal violation of fundamental Palestinian rights.”

SL – Turning to the role of the International Criminal Court, this is an organ of the UN. So why doesn’t the ICC initiate its own prosecution of Israeli crimes based on UN reports and the mountain of evidence available to it, especially in view of Palestine’s upgraded status?

Richard Falk – There is no authoritative explanation of ICC passivity in face of the Israeli criminal violation of fundamental Palestinian rights. As a matter of speculation it is plausible to assume an absence of political will on the part of the prosecutor’s office to initiate an investigation that would be deeply opposed by Israel and the United States. The ICC has been recently criticized for its Western bias, and its failure for instance to consider whether the United Kingdom and the United States violated the Rome Statute’s enumeration of international crimes by initiating and conducting the Iraq War. The African Union has complained about the seeming focus on the criminality of African leaders, and the bypassing of grievances directed at Western behaviour.

SL – We hear you and others calling for intervention to prevent humanitarian catastrophes, e.g. the Gaza water crisis. Who exactly are you calling on? What is the chain of responsibility for intervening.

Richard Falk – There has been evolving within the UN and in international society more generally a sense that there is a ‘responsibility to protect’ peoples subject to severe threats of humanitarian catastrophes or natural disasters. Such sentiments are part of a process I have described as ‘moral globalization.’
In fact, R2P diplomacy has been discredited by being used as a geopolitical instrument, most dramatically as the normative foundation for the UN endorsement of the NATO 2011 military intervention in Libya. With respect to Libya the justification was protection against a feared massacre of civilians in the city of Benghazi, but the actual military operation from its outset seemed designed to achieve regime change in Tripoli. When it comes to Gaza where the present crisis has passed into a zone of desperation, the UN and world community are silent as if stone deaf to this deepening human crisis of survival.
“So long as it is useful for Israel and Washington to treat Hamas as ‘a terrorist organization’ the UN will be limited in its role to being a provider of a subsistence existence for the Gazan people…”

SL – We have just seen the UN intervening to bring fuel into Gaza as it teetered on the brink of a full-blown public health crisis. There are many such emergencies thanks to Israel’s continuing blockade. Why doesn’t the UN take over the supply of fuel full-time? And indeed the supply of medicines, drugs, medical equipment and spares?

Richard Falk – The tragic situation in Gaza cannot be understood without taking account of the political context, above all the split between Fatah and Hamas, and the Israeli posture toward Gaza after its ‘disengagement’ in 2005 and the imposition of a punitive blockade in mid-2007 after Hamas took over the governance of Gaza. The UN has no capability to override geopolitical priorities, and so long as it is useful for Israel and Washington to treat Hamas as ‘a terrorist organization’ the UN will be limited in its role to being a provider of a subsistence existence for the Gazan people, long victims of unlawful Israel policies of ‘collective punishment’ unconditional prohibited by Article 33 of the 4th Geneva Convention.
After the Egyptian coup of July 3rd of this year, the subsistence regime evolved in Gaza is itself in jeopardy. The tunnel network has been substantially destroyed by Egyptian military action and the Rafah crossing from Gaza to Egypt has been mainly closed, isolating the people, and creating emergency conditions due to fuel shortages that have made electricity only available in very limited amounts.
The results are horrifying: sewage in the streets, insufficient power to run machines needed to keep the terminally ill alive, fuel shortages that virtually preclude economic activity, and closed borders that seal the fate of 1.6 million Gazans. Long before this dramatic further deterioration of life circumstances, observers were calling Gaza the largest open air prison in the world.
“The wrongful appropriation by Israel of Palestine’s water, land, and energy resources has been a massive crime against the Palestinian people…”

SL – What is the UN doing to protect Palestine’ s precious aquifers and offshore gas field from being plundered by the Israelis?

Richard Falk – Again, the UN has no independent capability, or ever will, to challenge Israel or to protect Palestinian rights. It is a case of geopolitical manipulation and Palestinian victimization. The wrongful appropriation by Israel of Palestine’s water, land, and energy resources has been a massive crime against the Palestinian people that has been continuous with the occupation that commenced in 1967.
“Israeli military dominance, as politically reinforced by American geopolitical muscle, overrides all of these Palestinian claims of right…. Such injustice and suffering can only be challenged by Palestinian resistance and international solidarity.”

SL – Why is the requirement, often repeated, to allow Palestinians free and unfettered movement in and out of Gaza not implemented? Gaza and the West Bank are supposed to be a contiguous territory but, for example, Palestinian students in Gaza are prevented from attending their excellent universities in the West Bank. And why are Gazan fishermen still restricted to a mere fraction of their territorial waters, despite agreements to the contrary, and regularly fired on? Why is Israel not prosecuted for acts of piracy in international waters against humanitarian traffic to Gaza?

Richard Falk – As earlier, the hard power realities of Israeli military dominance, as politically reinforced by American geopolitical muscle, overrides all of these Palestinian claims of right. In this respect, such injustice and suffering can only be challenged by Palestinian resistance and international solidarity. The specific abuses can and should be delimited to raise public awareness and contribute to the mobilization of support for the Palestinian struggle, but it is pointless to expect the UN to do more than its capabilities allow. The whole structure of the Organization, combined with the method of funding, gives geopolitical pressures great leverage in relation to specific situations. The veto power given to the permanent members of the Security Council is a major expression of this weakness that was built into the constitutional structure of the UN from the moment of its establishment.
“Nuremberg Promise has not been kept”

SL – People reading what you say here will be alarmed that US geopolitical power and Israeli military might can so easily override international and humanitarian law. After Nuremburg our legal institutions were strong enough to bring Nazi era criminals to book, but present-day war criminals walk free and thumb their noses. What hope is there for mankind and our brave new world if this is allowed to continue?

Richard Falk – The Nuremberg experience was based on ‘victors’ justice,’ holding the defeated leaders after World War II criminally accountable, while exempting the crimes of the victors from accountability. There was a promise made at Nuremberg that in the future the rules by which the Germans were judged would be applicable to all who committed state crimes in the future. This Nuremberg Promise has not been kept. The political and military leaders of the main states enjoy impunity while the leaders of defeated countries (e.g. Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic) or sub-Saharan African countries are prosecuted by international tribunals. Double standards prevail, and it is questionable whether an international criminal law that punishes the weak and exempts the strong is to be treated as legitimate even if those accused receive a fair trial and are convicted and punished only if they were guilty of grave misconduct.
The bottom line is that we live in a world in which the primacy of hard power prevails in the relationship among states. Geopolitical leverage enables Israel to defy the most basic principles of international law, and yet their leaders are not held accountable. There are only two paths available that challenge this result. National courts can be empowered by what is called ‘universal jurisdiction’ to investigate, indict, prosecute, convict, and punish anyone accused of state crime that can be personally delivered to the relevant court. In 1998 the Chilean dictator was detained in London after the Spanish Government requested that Pinochet be extradited. After lengthy litigation is was found that Pinochet could be extradited for torture committed during part of his reign, but in the end he was sent back to Chile because of health reasons, and never faced trial in Spain. Yet such a possibility exists in relation to Israeli political and military leaders, and seems to have discouraged their travel to countries whose criminal law contains the authority to invoke universal jurisdiction.
The other possibility is by convening a peoples tribunal of the sort constituted in the past by the Bertrand Russell Foundation in Brussels and the Lelio Basso Foundation in Rome. The Russell Foundation sponsored four sessions devoted to various allegations of criminality attributed to the government of Israel. It produced convincing documentation of the charges, and issued judgements that called for civil society initiatives. Such a tribunal, although acting on evidence and in accord with the relevant provisions of international criminal law, possesses no formal authority and lacks implementing capabilities. Its role is limited to documenting the case against a government, and providing symbolic support to those who contend that there have been violations of international criminal law. Such outcomes may influence public opinion, and help change the balance of political forces by undermining the legitimacy of an established order of oppression as exists with respect to Israel’s relationship to the Palestinian people and the denial of their collective right of self-determination.
“The ‘politics of fragmentation’ designed to undermine Palestinian unity… has been alarmingly successful.”

SL – What are the chances as you see them for achieving unity between Fatah and Hamas, and how should the Palestinians play their cards in future?

Richard Falk – There is a near unanimous belief among Palestinians and their supporters that unity is needed to move the struggle forward. Such unity existed throughout the early decades of the Palestinian National Movement, despite many ideological differences relating to tactics and goals, but within a shared resolve to achieve national liberation. The unifying image provided by Yasser Arafat’s uncontested leadership was also important.
Israel has pursued a policy I describe as ‘the politics of fragmentation’ designed to undermine Palestinian unity, and it has been alarmingly successful. Oslo contributed to this end by dividing up the West Bank into Areas A, B, and C, by splitting the administration of Gaza off from the rest of Palestine. The emergence of Hamas highlighted Palestinian fragmentation, a result welcomed by Israel even as it was condemned. Fatah appears to have been inhibited in reaching some kind of functional unity with Hamas by pressures to refrain from such moves mounted in Israel and the United States. So long as Hamas is treated as a terrorist organization, even in the face of its turn from armed struggle and entry into the political process back in 2006, there will be strong opposition to moves toward unity, which were attempted in the Morsi period of leadership in Egypt, and seemed on the verge of success.

SL – Finally, Richard, your robust defence of Palestinian rights has ruffled many feathers and led to demands from ‘the usual suspects’ for your dismissal. Should the people you speak up for be concerned about this?

Richard Falk – The attacks on me, and others who have tried to bear witness to the directives of international law and political justice, are part of a deliberate campaign by Israel, and its cadres in civil society, to deflect attention from the substantive grievances of the Palestinian people. It is what I have described as ‘the politics of deflection,’ go after the messenger so as to deflect attention from the message. The media has been largely compliant as have Israel’s powerful governmental friends, including the United Kingdom, US, and Canadian governments. Of course, many NGOs and elements of the public push back against such tactics. In my case the defamatory efforts of UN Watch, in particular, have been unpleasant, but have not altered my effort to do the job of witnessing to the best of my ability and in accordance with the canons of truth telling.
“Those of us living in comfort should not turn our gaze away from the children of Gaza this Christmas.”

SL – Thank you for being so generous with your time and sharing your assessment of the situation. But before you go, what sort of Christmas can the children of Gaza look forward to?

Richard Falk – We can only imagine the horror of Christmas this year in Gaza for young and old alike: from life amid raw sewage to freezing cold, scarcities, desolation, and a sense that the world is elsewhere, indifferent to such acute suffering, such sustained injustice, such blind hate.
And yet also knowing many Gazans makes me believe that even in such dire circumstances there remains space for some laughter, and much love, and that such a spirit of resistance lives on among the children of this place haunted by the evils of our world. If present these days in Gaza it would likely make me feel a mystifying blend of sadness and inspiration.
At the very least those of us living in comfort should not turn our gaze away from the children of Gaza this Christmas: we should demand empathy from our leaders and be as personally attentive as possible, whether by commentary, prayer, donations, a compassionate scream! We should not allow these days of celebration and renewal to pass this year without moments of reflection on selfish joys and cheerful carols, as contrasting with the miserable destiny bestowed upon the innocent and abused children of Gaza
Let us look the children of Gaza in the eye if we can. And if we can’t, as I could not, seize the moment to reflect on what it means to be (in)human during this holiday season.

Stuart Littlewood’s articles are published widely on the web. He is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. 

For further information please visit http://www.radiofreepalestine.org.uk “Lawlessness must have painful consequences for the lawless, not their victims.” (Stuart Littlewood)

RT’S THE TRUTHSEEKER: WHO HAS NUKES IN THE MIDDLE EAST

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2013 AT 11:29PM

GILAD ATZMON

Mearsheimer responds to Goldberg’s latest smear

Source
                        

Just a few minutes ago, I saw this piece expressing unequivocal support from Professor John J.  Mearsheimer clearly one of the most distinguished scholars in our discourse and beyond.

For years I have been subjected to smear campaigns. I obviously survived them all because those who read me grasped the humanist intent in my work. In the following article, professor  Mearsheimer exposes the banality and crudeness of the Zionist tactics. He shows how Goldberg & Co forge sentences, take words out of context and attribute misleading meanings.

I am afraid to advise my detractors that I am not alone at all. The Tide Has Changed.

http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/

Ever since John Mearsheimer and I began writing about the Israel lobby, some of our critics have leveled various personal charges against us. These attacks rarely addressed the substance of what we wrote — a tacit concession that both facts and logic were on our side — but instead accused us of being anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists. They used these false charges to try to discredit and/or marginalize us, and to distract people from the important issues of U.S. Middle East policy that we had raised.

The latest example of this tactic is a recent blog post from Jeffrey Goldberg, where he accused my co-author of endorsing a book by an alleged Holocaust denier and Nazi sympathizer. Goldberg has well-established record of making things up about us, and this latest episode is consistent with his usual approach. I asked Professor Mearsheimer if he wanted to respond to Goldberg’s sally, and he sent the following reply.

John Mearsheimer writes:

In a certain sense, it is hard not to be impressed by the energy and imagination that Jeffrey Goldberg devotes to smearing Steve Walt and me. Although he clearly disagrees with our views about U.S.-Israel relations and the role of the Israel lobby, he does not bother to engage what we actually wrote in any meaningful way. Indeed, given what he writes about us, I am not even sure he has read our book or related articles. Instead of challenging the arguments and evidence that we presented, his modus operandi is to misrepresent and distort our views, in a transparent attempt to portray us as rabid anti-Semites.

His latest effort along these lines comes in a recent blog post, where he seizes on a dust jacket blurb I wrote for a new book by Gilad Atzmon titled The Wandering Who? A Study of Jewish Identity Politics. Here is what I said in my blurb:

Gilad Atzmon has written a fascinating and provocative book on Jewish identity in the modern world. He shows how assimilation and liberalism are making it increasingly difficult for Jews in the Diaspora to maintain a powerful sense of their ‘Jewishness.’ Panicked Jewish leaders, he argues, have turned to Zionism (blind loyalty to Israel) and scaremongering (the threat of another Holocaust) to keep the tribe united and distinct from the surrounding goyim. As Atzmon’s own case demonstrates, this strategy is not working and is causing many Jews great anguish. The Wandering Who? should be widely read by Jews and non-Jews alike. 

 The book, as my blurb makes clear, is an extended meditation on Jewish identity in the Diaspora and how it relates to the Holocaust, Israel, and Zionism. There is no question that the book is provocative, both in terms of its central argument and the overly hot language that Atzmon sometimes uses. But it is also filled with interesting insights that make the reader think long and hard about an important subject. Of course, I do not agree with everything that he says in the book — what blurber does? — but I found it thought provoking and likely to be of considerable interest to Jews and non-Jews, which is what I said in my brief comment.

Goldberg maintains that Atzmon is a categorically reprehensible person, and accuses him of being a Holocaust denier and an apologist for Hitler. These are two of the most devastating charges that can be leveled against anyone. According to Goldberg, the mere fact that I blurbed Atzmon’s book is decisive evidence that I share Atzmon’s supposedly odious views. This indictment of me is captured in the title of Goldberg’s piece: “John Mearsheimer Endorses a Hitler Apologist and Holocaust Revisionist.”

This charge is so ludicrous that it is hard to know where to start my response. But let me begin by noting that I have taught countless University of Chicago students over the years about the Holocaust and about Hitler’s role in it. Nobody who has been in my classes would ever accuse me of being sympathetic to Holocaust deniers or making excuses for what Hitler did to European Jews. Not surprisingly, those loathsome charges have never been leveled against me until Goldberg did so last week.

Equally important, Gilad Atzmon is neither a Holocaust denier nor an apologist for Hitler. Consider the following excerpt from The Wandering Who?

As much as I was a sceptic youngster, I was also horrified by the Holocaust. In the 1970s Holocaust survivors were part of our social landscape. They were our neighbours, we met them in our family gatherings, in the classroom, in politics, in the corner shop. The dark numbers tattooed on their white arms never faded away. It always had a chilling effect. . . . It was actually the internalization of the meaning of the Holocaust that transformed me into a strong opponent of Israel and Jewish-ness. It is the Holocaust that eventually made me a devoted supporter of Palestinian rights, resistance and the Palestinian right of return” (pp. 185-186).

It seems unequivocally clear to me from those sentences that Atzmon firmly believes that the Holocaust occurred and was a horrific tragedy. I cannot find evidence in his book or in his other writings that indicate he “traffics in Holocaust denial.”

The real issue for Atzmon — and this is reflected in the excerpt from his blog post that Goldberg quotes from — is how the Holocaust is interpreted and used by the Jewish establishment. Atzmon has three complaints. He believes that it is used to justify Israel’s brutal treatment of the Palestinians and to fend off criticism of Israel. This is an argument made by many other writers, including former Knesset speaker Avraham Burg, historian Peter Novick, and political scientist Norman Finkelstein. Atzmon also rejects the claim that the Holocaust is exceptional, which is a position that other respected scholars have held. There have been other genocides in world history, after all, and this whole issue was actively debated in the negotiations that led to the building of the Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. Whatever one thinks of Atzmon’s position on this subject, it is hardly beyond the pale.

Finally, Atzmon is angry about the fact that it is difficult to raise certain questions about the causes and the conduct of the Holocaust without being personally attacked. These are all defensible if controversial positions to hold, which is not to say one has to agree with any of them. But in no way is he questioning that the Holocaust happened or denying its importance. In fact, his view is clear from one of Atzmon’s sentences that Goldberg quotes: “We should strip the holocaust of its Judeo-centric exceptional status and treat it as an historical chapter that belongs to a certain time and place.” Note that Atzmon is talking about “the holocaust” in a way that makes it clear he has no doubts about its occurrence, and the passage from The Wandering Who? cited above makes it clear that he has no doubts about its importance or its tragic dimensions; he merely believes it should be seen in a different way. Again, one need not agree with Atzmon to recognize that Goldberg has badly misrepresented his position.

There is also no evidence that I could find in The Wandering Who? to support Goldberg’s claim that Atzmon is an apologist for Hitler or that he believes “Jews persecuted Hitler” and in so doing helped trigger the Holocaust. There is actually little discussion of Hitler in Atzmon’s book, and the only discussion of interactions between Hitler and the Jews concerns the efforts of German Zionists to work out a modus vivendi with the Nazis. (pp. 162-165) This is why Goldberg is forced to go to one of Atzmon’s blog posts to make the case that he is an apologist for Hitler.

Before I examine the substance of that charge, there is an important issue that needs to be addressed directly. Goldberg’s indictment of Atzmon does not rely on anything that he wrote in The Wandering Who? Indeed, Goldberg’s blog post is silent on whether he has actually read the book. If he did read it, he apparently could not find any evidence to support his indictment of Atzmon. Instead, he relied exclusively on evidence culled from Atzmon’s own blog postings. That is why Goldberg’s assault on me steers clear of criticizing Atzmon’s book, which is what I blurbed. In short, he falsely accuses me of lending support to a Holocaust denier and defender of Hitler on the basis of writings that I did not read and did not comment upon.

This tactic puts me in a difficult position. I was asked to review Atzmon’s book and see whether I would be willing to blurb it. This is something I do frequently, and in every case I focus on the book at hand and not on the personality of the author or their other writings. In other words, I did not read any of Atzmon’s blog postings before I wrote my blurb. And just for the record, I have not met him and did not communicate with him before I was asked to review The Wandering Who? I read only the book and wrote a blurb that deals with it alone.

Goldberg, however, has shifted the focus onto what Atzmon has written on his blog. I discuss a couple of examples below, but I will not defend his blog output in detail for two reasons. First, I do not know what Atzmon may have said in all of his past blog posts and other writings or in the various talks that he has given over the years. Second, what he says in those places is not relevant to what I did, which was simply to read and react to his book.

Let me now turn to the specific claim that Atzmon is an “apologist for Hitler.” Again, I am somewhat reluctant to do this, because this charge forces me to defend what Atzmon said in one of his blog posts. But given the prominence of the charge in Goldberg’s indictment of Atzmon (and me), I cannot let it pass.

Plus, I see that Walter Russell Mead, who is also fond of smearing Steve Walt and me, has put this charge up in bright lights on his own blog. Picking up on Goldberg’s original post, Mead describes Atzmon’s argument this way: “poor Adolf Hitler’s actions against German Jews only came after US Jews called a boycott on German goods following Hitler’s appointment as German Chancellor. Gosh — if it weren’t for those pushy, aggressive Jews and their annoying boycotts, the Holocaust might not have happened!”

It is hard to imagine any sane person making such an argument, and Atzmon never does. Goldberg refers to a blog post that Atzmon wrote on March 25, 2010, written in response to news at the time that AIPAC had “decided to mount pressure” on President Obama. After describing what was happening with Obama, Atzmon notes that this kind of behavior is hardly unprecedented. In his words, “Jewish lobbies certainly do not hold back when it comes to pressuring states, world leaders and even superpowers.” There is no question that this statement is accurate and not even all that controversial; Tom Friedman said as much in the New York Times a couple of weeks ago.

In the second half of this post, Atzmon says that AIPAC’s behavior reminds him of the March 1933 Jewish boycott of German goods, which preceded Hitler’s decision on March 28, 1933 to boycott Jewish stores and goods. His basic point is that the Jewish boycott had negative consequences, which it did. In Atzmon’s narrative — and this is a very important theme in his book — Jews are not simply passive victims of other people’s actions. On the contrary, he believes Jews have considerable agency and their actions are not always wise. One can agree or disagree with his views about the wisdom of the Jewish boycott — and I happen to think he’s wrong about it — but he is not arguing that the Jews were “persecuting Hitler” and that this alleged “persecution” led to the Holocaust. In fact, he says nothing about the Holocaust in his post and he certainly does not justify in any way the murder of six million Jews.

Let me make one additional point about Goldberg’s mining of Atzmon’s blog posts. Goldberg ends his attack on me with the following quotation from a Feb. 19 blog post by Atzmon: “I believe that from [a] certain ideological perspective, Israel is actually far worse than Nazi Germany.” That quotation certainly makes Atzmon look like he has lost his mind and that nothing he has written could be trusted. But Goldberg has misrepresented what Atzmon really said, which is one of his standard tactics. Specifically, he quotes only part of a sentence from Atzmon’s blog post; but when you look at the entire sentence, you see that Atzmon is making a different, and far more nuanced point. The entire sentence reads: “Indeed, I believe that from [a] certain ideological perspective, Israel is actually far worse than Nazi Germany, for unlike Nazi Germany, Israel is a democracy and that implies that Israeli citizens are complicit in Israeli atrocities.” This is not an argument I would make, but what Atzmon is saying is quite different from the way Goldberg portrays it.

Finally, let me address the charge that Atzmon himself is an anti-Semite and a self-hating Jew. The implication of this accusation, of course, is that I must be an anti-Semite too (I can’t be a self-hating Jew) because I agreed to blurb Atzmon’s book. I do not believe that Atzmon is an anti-Semite, although that charge is thrown around so carelessly these days that it has regrettably lost much of its meaning. If one believes that anyone who criticizes Israel is an anti-Semite, then Atzmon clearly fits in that category. But that definition is foolish — no country is perfect or above criticism-and not worth taking seriously.

The more important and interesting issue is whether Atzmon is a self-hating Jew. Here the answer is unequivocally yes. He openly describes himself in this way and he sees himself as part of a long dissident tradition that includes famous figures such as Marx and Spinoza. What is going on here?
The key to understanding Atzmon is that he rejects the claim that Jews are the “Chosen People.” His main target, as he makes clear at the start of the book, is not with Judaism per se or with people who “happen to be of Jewish origin.” Rather, his problem is with “those who put their Jewish-ness over and above all of their other traits.” Or to use other words of his: “I will present a harsh criticism of Jewish politics and identity … This book doesn’t deal with Jews as a people or ethnicity.” (pp. 15-16)
In other words, Atzmon is a universalist who does not like the particularism that characterizes Zionism and which has a rich tradition among Jews and any number of other groups. He is the kind of person who intensely dislikes nationalism of any sort. Princeton professor Richard Falk captures this point nicely in his own blurb for the book, where he writes: “Atzmon has written an absorbing and moving account of his journey from hard-core Israeli nationalist to a de-Zionized patriot of humanity.”

Atzmon’s basic point is that Jews often talk in universalistic terms, but many of them think and act in particularistic terms. One might say they talk like liberals but act like nationalists. Atzmon will have none of this, which is why he labels himself a self-hating Jew. He fervently believes that Jews are not the “Chosen People” and that they should not privilege their “Jewish-ness” over their other human traits. Moreover, he believes that one must choose between Athens and Jerusalem, as they “can never be blended together into a lucid and coherent worldview.” (p. 86) One can argue that his perspective is dead wrong, or maintain that it is a lovely idea in principle but just not the way the real world works. But it is hardly an illegitimate or ignoble way of thinking about humanity.

To take this matter a step further, Atzmon’s book is really all about Jewish identity. He notes that “the disappearance of the ghetto and its maternal qualities” in the wake of the French Revolution caused “an identity crisis within the largely assimilated Jewish society.” (p. 104) He believes that this crisis, about which there is an extensive literature, is still at the center of Jewish life today. In effect,
Atzmon is telling the story of how he wrestled with his own identity over time and what he thinks is wrong with how most Jews self-identify today. It is in this context that he discusses what he calls the “Holocaust religion,” Zionism, and Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians. Again, to be perfectly clear, he has no animus toward Judaism as a religion or with individuals who are Jewish by birth. Rather, his target is the tribalism that he believes is common to most Jews, and I might add, to most other peoples as well. Atzmon focuses on Jews for the obvious reason that he is Jewish and is trying to make sense of his own identity.

In sum, Goldberg’s charge that Atzman is a Holocaust denier or an apologist for Hitler is baseless. Nor is Atzmon an anti-Semite. He has controversial views for sure and he sometimes employs overly provocative language. But there is no question in my mind that he has written a fascinating book that, as I said in my blurb, “should be widely read by Jews and non-Jews alike.” Regarding Goldberg’s insinuation that I have any sympathy for Holocaust denial and am an anti-Semite, it is just another attempt in his longstanding effort to smear Steve Walt and me.

Reader Comments (1)

Thanks Gilad for at last publiching this book. I must admit that I have been waiting some years for it to come. The first time I met your writings (on the webb) was I think in 2003, when I was making research on the roots of Zionism, writing on my first article on the subject about Moses Hess and Karl Marx. I was then a member of a jewish peacegroup in Sweden, and most of us were marxists from 68 or some younger leftish. A few of us also recognized us as anti-zionists.

At that time I thought that the best way to confront the politics of Israel and Zionism would be “from within”, because it would develop the debate inside the jewish group and at the same time get more credibility to the arguments outside the jewish group. But I was wrong. In a big debate at the university of Stockholm, I claimed that when it comes to the borders of Israel, I personally would not mind if they are the UN participation plan, the 67 line, the river Jordan, the river Eufrat or for that case the whole world, if only all inhabitants will have the same rights.

That statement became the end of my membership in the jewish peacegroup, and the beginning of my travel from jewish tribalism (and maxism) to humanism. (And later to be an official “anti-semite”, “Holocaust denier” and “conspiracy-theorist”).

At that time I thought I was alone with my identity problems. Sweden is a small country. When I realized I was not alone, I got the energy to start writing, which I almost never had done before (I simply and humbly want to thank you Gilad for that, and I guess I am not alone in this). But at the same time I felt there was something more than just leaving the jewish tribal thinking, as it includes so many tabous and unspeakable matters that have a grip on the open discurse of today. Tribal thinking is by no means only jewish, but it just happens to be the case that jewish ideology today is “on the top of the foodchain”, when gipsy tribal ideologi is not. At this point I realized what it is all about: The liberation of human thoughts. I remember that was one of the first comment I wrote to you, So let this be a comment to the readers of your book. It is not just about “The wandering who?”, it is about the liberation of human thinking, and I want to beleave that it is in this way the book will be remembered by genreations to come.
Peace
Lasse

Richard Falk: An Open Letter of Response to CRIF


An Open Letter of Response to CRIF (Counsèil Représentif des Institutions juives de France)

I am shocked and saddened that your organization would label me as an anti-Semite and self-hating Jew. It is utterly defamatory, and such allegations are entirely based on distortions of what I believe and what I have done. To confuse my criticisms of Israel with self-hatred of myself as a Jew or with hatred of Jews is a calumny. I have long been a critic of American foreign policy but that does not make me anti-American; it is freedom of conscience that is the core defining reality of a genuinely democratic society, and its exercise is crucial to the quality of political life in a particular country, especially here in the United States where its size and influence often has such a large impact on the lives and destiny of many peoples excluded from participating in its policy debates or elections.

It is always difficult to negate irresponsible accusations of this kind. What follows is an attempt to clarify my honestly held positions in relation to a litany of charges that have been given currency by a campaign conducted by UN Watch ever since I was appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to be Special Rapporteur for the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in 2008. What follows are brief attempts at clarification in response to the main charges:

–the attacks on me by such high profile individuals as Ban ki-Moon, Susan Rice, David Cameron were made in response to vilifying letters about me sent to them by UN Watch, and signed by its Executive Director, Hillel Neuer. The contention that Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, also attacked me is misleading. She regretted the posting of a cartoon on my blog that had an anti-Semitic cartoon, but she took note of my contention that it was a complete accident and that the cartoon was immediately removed when brought to my attention;
–it was the cartoon that has served UN Watch as the basis of their insistence that I am an anti-Semite. Their bad faith is demonstrated by their repeated magnification of the cartoon far beyond what I had posted on the basis of its size on the Google image page for the International Criminal Court. As I have explained many times, I was unaware when I posted the cartoon of its anti-Semitic character, and pointed out that the post in which was inserted was dealing with my argument that the ICC was biased in its use of its authority, in this instance by issuing arrest warrants against the Qaddafi leadership in Libya. Israel was not mentioned in the post the content of which had nothing whatsoever to do with Judaism or Jews. To ignore such an explanation is to my way of thinking and to reprint the cartoon in an enlarged form is a sign of malicious intent; any fair reading of the 182 posts on my blog, including one devoted to Jewish identity would make it very clear to any objective reader that I have not expressed a single sentiment that can be fairly described as an anti-Semite. It is a grave disservice to both Israel and Jews to confuse criticism of Israel’s behavior toward the Palestinians with anti-Semitism.

–the claim that I am a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, actually a leading one, is false, as well. I have consistently maintained that I have insufficient knowledge to reach any conclusions about whether there is an alternative narrative of the 9/11 events that is more convincing than the official version. What I have said, and stand behind, is that David Griffin and many others have raised questions that have not been adequately answered, and constitute serious gaps in the official version that were not closed by the 9/11 Commission report. I would reaffirm that David Griffin is a cherished friend, and that we have professionally collaborated on several projects long before 9/11. It should be pointed out that Griffin is a philosopher of religion of worldwide reputation that has written on a wide range of issues, including a series on inquiries into the post-modern world and the desirability of an ecological civilization.

–The recent UN Watch letter that led me to be removed from the Human Rights Watch SB city Committee also claims I am a partisan of Hamas, which is a polemic charge and is untrue. What I have encouraged is a balanced view of Hamas based on the full context of their statements and behavior, and not fixing on language in the Hamas Charter or a particular speech. When the broader context is considered of Hamas statements and recent behavior is considered, then I believe there exists a potential opportunity to work with Hamas leaders to end the violence, to release the people of Gaza from captivity, and to generate a diplomatic process that leads to a period of prolonged peaceful co-existence with Israel. I have never insisted that this hopeful interpretation is necessarily correct, but I do maintain that it is worth exploring, and a preferred alternative to the current rigid insistence on refusing to deal with Hamas as a political actor because it is ‘a terrorist organization.’ It was evident in the recent violence preceding the November ceasefire in Gaza that leaders throughout the Middle East were treating Hamas as the governmental authority in Gaza and as a normal political entity, and this helped bring the violence to an end.

–Finally, UN Watch charges that I am biased and one-sided in my treatment of Israeli behavior, and cites Susan Rice and others for support, as well as noting my failure to report on violations by Hamas, Fatah, and the Palestinian Authority. I can only say once more that I am trying my best to be objective and truthful, although unwilling to give in to pressure. I did make an effort in my initial appearance before the Human Rights Council to broaden my mandate to take account of Palestinian violations, but was rebuffed by most of the 49 governmental members of the Council for seeking to make such a change, and reasonable grounds were advanced for not changing my mandate. I have noted Palestinian violations of international law wherever relevant to the assessment of Israeli behavior, as for instance in relation to the launch of indiscriminate rockets. Palestinian abuses of human rights of Palestinians under their control while administering portions of Occupied Palestine is outside my mandate, and I have no discretion to comment on such behavior in discharging my responsibilities as Special Rapporteur.

It is my view that Israel is in control of the occupied Palestinian territories of the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, and is primarily responsible for the situation and the persistence of the conflict, especially by their insistence on undertaking provocative actions such as targeted assassinations and accelerated settlement expansions.

I would grateful if this account of my actual views and beliefs can be circulated widely in response to the CRIF repetition of the UN Watch attacks.

Richard Falk
29 December 2012

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Jewish Projection For Christmas

      


By Gilad Atzmon

One day before Christmas, the Israeli embassy in Ireland posted a message on its Facebook page that said that if Jesus and Mary were alive today in Bethlehem, they would probably be lynched by local Arabs.

The Israeli Right Wing media outlet Arutz 7 described it as “(a) thought for Christmas”, explaining to their readers that “If Jesus and Mother Mary were alive today, they would, as Jews without security, probably end up being lynched in Bethlehem by hostile Palestinians. Just a thought …”

Yet the Israeli diplomats in Ireland must surely know very well that, according to the Christian Gospels, it was actually the Sanhedrin who pushed for the crucifixion of Jesus: though the Gospels plainly depict the Roman Pontius Pilate as the author of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, it clearly suggests in the following verses that Pilate was subject to the incitement of the ‘Jewish’ Sanhedrin — 12: And Pilate answered and said again unto them, What will ye then that I shall do unto Him Whom ye call the King of the Jews? 13: And they cried out again, Crucify Him. 14: Then Pilate said unto them, Why, what evil hath He done? And they cried out the more exceedingly, Crucify Him (Mark 15:12-14).

But I guess that the Israeli diplomats in Ireland must have realised that their Hasbara attempt was counterproductive and would likely backfire, for they were very quick to remove the above FB post and apologise.

And yet, one possible explanation for their regretful Facebook post is projection. Psychological projection is commonly defined as a tendency to subconsciously deny one’s own attributes, thoughts, and emotions, which are then ascribed to other people.

Tragically enough, excommunication (Herem) and lynching are embedded in every form of Jewish political and cultural thinking, be it Left, Right or Centre. Every too often we detect a Zionist or Jewish ‘progressive’ campaign against those whom ‘some Jews’ regard as the ‘enemy of the tribe’.
Sadly enough, the inclination towards lynching ‘a la Sanhedrin’ is deeply rooted in Jewish political thought: sometimes it is performed by Zionist lobbies such as AIPAC. In the last week, for instance, we followed the American Jewish Lobby’s push for the political annihilation of Chuck Hagel. On other occasions, the exact same exercise is performed by the so-called ‘progressive Jews’ such as HRW, JVP, IJAN and Mondoweiss who also follow the Sanhedrin’s modus operandi, trying to destroy their critics by means of political lynching or by proxy.

And just like the Zionists, the so-called ‘anti’ Zionists will use every trick in the ‘tribal manual’ – they would call for excommunication (herem); they would demand disavowal, and like the Sanhedrin, they would search for their contemporaneous Pontius Pilate, who is stupid enough to agree to go down in history as their Sabbath Goy.

However, I do believe that both Zionists and ‘anti’ Zionists should start to consider very seriously what they are doing: they should grasp that as time goes by, their opponents will gather a deeper understanding of Jewish culture and power.

I myself take some credit for this: my latest book helped many to understand the continuum between Jewishness, Zionism and power. I also managed to dismantle the imaginary distinction between the ‘Zionist’ and the so-called ‘anti’ Zionist, and I guess that by now we are capable of detecting the controlled opposition within our ranks.

Interestingly enough, it took the Israeli Embassy in Ireland just a few hours to realise that they had gone one step too far. Seemingly, The Israeli foreign office was very quick to issue an apology. But our Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists are yet to apologise to Greta Berlin, Prof’ Finkelstein, Prof’ Richard Falk myself and many others for their relentless harassment campaigns against us.

The explanation for it all may be rather simple – in terms of awareness, ideology and consciousness, the Israelis are probably slightly ahead of their ‘anti’ Zionist twins: at least the Israeli diplomats were quick to realise that they were caught projecting their symptoms onto the Palestinian peoples. The Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists though, are failing on that front because they are still saturated with their own sense of ‘progressive righteousness’.

‘Progressiveness’ is a tribal inclinations and should be realised as a secular replacement for  ‘chosen-ness’. Being ‘progressive’ implies that someone else must be ‘reactionary’.  Jewish ‘progressiveness’  should be grasped, therefore’ as a ‘kosher secular supremacy’. It stands in total opposition to the idea of equality, human brotherhood and universalism. The so-called Jewish ‘progressive anti Zionist’ is subject to a self-imposed blindness and I believe that he or she have a lot to reflect upon in those regards. Yet,  by judging their general reaction to criticism, I am not so sure that this is ever going to happen.

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Watch Human Right Watch – A Tribute to Prof Richard Falk

By Gilad Atzmon

This week we learned that Human Rights Watch (HRW) has expelled from its ranks top U.N. official Professor Richard Falk.

The juicy details have been kindly supplied by Israeli Hasbara outlet UN Watch blog.“We commend Human Rights Watch and its director Kenneth Roth for doing the right thing, and finally removing this enemy of human rights from their important organization,” said Hillel Neuer, a rabid Israeli supporter as well as Executive Director of UN Watch. “A man who supports the Hamas terrorist organization, and who was just condemned by the British Foreign Office for his cover endorsement of a virulently antisemitic book, has no place in an organization dedicated to human rights,”

Hasbara stooge that he is, Neuer using every Zionist trick in the book, misinforms and misleads his readers. First of all, Hamas is not a ‘terrorist organisation’, it is a democratically elected government and the book to which Neuer refers is obviously mine – ‘The Wandering Who’ – which, was endorsed by Richard Falk and some of the most important humanists and scholars of our time– a book which has been a best-seller for six months in both Britain and the USA, has been translated into 10 languages and is available in seven editions in countries that all strictly legislate against any form of racial incitement as well Holocaust denial. The fact is that the Zionists and their ‘Progressive’ twins will have to accept that The Wandering Who is, after all, strictly kosher.

So, Professor Falk did indeed endorse my book and, like all my other endorsers, did not cave into pressure. This is should indeed concern all Zionist and their agents.

 “A transformative story told with unflinching integrity that all (especially Jews) who care about real peace, as well as their own identity, should not only read, but reflect upon and discuss widely.” Professor Richard Falk on The Wandering Who

But the problem is not the tribally oriented UN Watch and its Zionist Executive Director. After all, they only do what we expect Zionists to do – lie, harass, abuse, and, if necessary, fabricate evidence. No, far more interesting is the behaviour of the allegedly ‘progressive’ ‘Human Right Watch’ and its director Kenneth Roth.

On the face of it, HRW is an independent, Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) ‘dedicated to defending and protecting human rights’. But it takes no more than a few seconds of research to find out that the primary donor of the HRW is liberal-Zionist George Soros and his Open Society Foundation – the same Soros and ‘Open’ society that supports most Palestinian NGOs including BDS which may perhaps explain why the BDS in Ramallah was so eager to compromise on that most precious Palestinian right i.e. The Right of Return. Nor will it surprise you to learn that the same Soros who funded HRW has been dedicated to ‘exposing’ of Hamas’ failures on human rights issues? Is this not what you would expect from a liberal Zionist spin meister?

In my new satirical work, A Glossary of Zionist Power which I am now completing, I include entries for Soros and his Open Society. In the book, Soros is a ‘Jew who supports a lot of good causes that are also very good for the Jews’ and The Open Society Foundation ‘is dedicated to the transformation of deprived people into Guardian readers’. Surely I will now have to add an entry for the HRW and Roth. Both are nothing short of ‘Zionist fig-leaves’ and, like all Jewish progressive outlets that are dedicated to Jewish tribal and ethno centric campaigning, HRW is there to monitor, control and even stifle any criticism of Israel if it should ever get too close to the bone, i.e. touching on the Jewish character of the Jewish state,

Prof’ Falk had little chance of surviving within such a tribal milieu and the reason is pretty simple. Unlike Zionist Neuer, Liberal Zionist Soros, and ‘Anti-Zionist Zionist’ Roth, Prof’ Falk actually represents the ultimate success of the Zionist project. Early Zionism promised to transform the Jews into ‘people like all other people’. Zionism vowed to bring to life a Jew who transcends the tribal, a Jew who think universally and ethically. Early Zionists also believed that such a transformation could be achieved only in Palestine. Of course, they were wrong but no one can ignore the fact that the greatest and most prolific Jewish universalists are actually Israelis (Prof’ Yishayahu Leibovitch, Prof Israel Shahak, Nurit & Miko Peled, Gideon Levy, Amira Hass, Uri Avneri, Ilan Pappe, Israel Shamir and many, many more). But Prof’ Falk and a few others have managed to achieve a similar goal in the Diaspora. Those Jews whom we most admire and whose integrity we most trust such as Prof’ Norton Mezvinsky, Prof’ Norman Finkelstein, Prof’ Falk  – all have something in common – they do not operate within Jews-only political cells. Unlike JVP, IJAN, HRW and Mondweiss, all of whom are dedicated primarily to promoting Jewish interests, they are dedicated to universal values.
So I argue that Prof’ Falk provides us with a glimpse into the possibility of true Jewish emancipation – the capacity to break out of the mental, intellectual and non-ethical ghetto. Moreover, this latest tale of HRW’s Herem (Kosher expulsion) of one of the greatest humanists of our generation is actually an educational event.

For many years, many of us saw Zionism and Israel as the mother and father of contemporary evil, but now, many of us have come to realise that Jewish progressive politics is every bit as sinister but, unlike Zionism that is only tainted with deception, the Jewish progressive discourse is inherently dishonest – it speaks universal but it thinks tribal.

While our disagreements with Israel and Zionism are clear, the Modus operandi adopted by AZZs and their relentless attempt to dominate the progressive discourse while, at the same time, stifling freedom of expression leave more and more humanists suspicious of any form of Jewish politics – be it right, left or centre.

I like to think that my Wandering Who was the first attempt to discuss these issues openly. I wrote it because I, too, am a wanderer who decided, instead of dwelling on someone else’s land, to leave my homeland. Perhaps Prof’ Falk endorsed my work, because, like myself, he too is a wanderer. He self-reflects, examining his identity and his notion of justice from a transcendental point of view. Like myself, he is an artist, a poet, a man who searches, against all the odds, for beauty, peace and truth. On the other hand, George Soros’ Open Society Foundation which contributed $100 million to HRW just to silence ethically and aesthetically driven souls such as Prof’ Falk and others.


The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics in general and Jewish progressive spin in particular Amazon.com  or Amazon.co.uk

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HRW expels UN envoy Richard Falk


Dr. Richard Anderson Falk (born 1930) was fired as director of the US-based Human Right Watch (HRW) on December 17, 2012 without proper notification. It was the result of a letter sent to Kenneth Roth (Jewish), executive director HRW by Hillel C. Neuer, executive director UN Watch, an Israeli advocay group based in Geneva.

On December 17, 2012 Hillel C. Neuer (Jewish) wrote: “We are shocked to discover that Richard Falk – the U.N. official whose antisemitic remarks and 9/11 conspiracy theories have been condemned by British Prime Minister David Cameron, U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay – is a board member of your organization. By legitimizing this racist and enemy of human rights, your organization undermines its own founding principles. We urge you to remove him immediately.”
Calling Richard Falk “antisemitic” is so funny considering Dr. Falk is Jewish himself! Incidently, Dr. Falk, too, suffer from ‘antisemitic virus’. On December 13, in response to my comment on his blog, he wrote: “Rehmat: I almost discarded your comment because of the anti-Semetic overtones of ‘Jew intellectuals.’ I refrained because the substance of your remarks were valuable, and I thought maybe it was an innocent mistake of usage, the appropriate form of which would be ‘Jewish intellectuals.’ I hope that you appreciate the distinction. Best, Richard.”

Dr. Falk was appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for the Palestinian Territories on March 26, 2008 to a six year term. Since then, Dr. Falk has been called “antisemitic”, “anti-Israel”, a “self-hating Jew” and “Arab lover” by Israeli leaders and their Zionist cheer-leader in the West. Read here and here and here.

Last week, Professor Richard Falk angered the Zionist entity once again. On December 5, 2012, he called the Zionist entity to abide by and fully implement the cease-fire agreement that was brokered by US-Egypt to end the recent 8-day Israeli airstrikes on Gaza Strip.

Against all character-assassination by Israel Lobby, Dr. Falk has refused to resign from his United Nations’ position.

What is HRW? Under president Clinton, the New York-based HRW was the most influential pro-intervention lobby: its ‘anti-atrocity crusade’ helped drive the wars in ex-Yugoslavia. Under Dubya George Bush it lost influence to neoconservatives, who have their own crusades. The neoconservatives (both Zionist Jews and Christians) work and lobby for Israel – while HRW was founded on belief in the superiority of American values. It has close links to US foreign policy elites and to other interventionists and expansionist lobbies.

Kenneth Roth was hired by HRW executive director Aryeh Neir (Jewish) in 1987. In 1993, Aryeh Neir left HRW to become president of Jewish billionaire George Soro’s ‘Open Society Institute’. Since then, Roth is running the HRW. Jewish groups and individuals like George Soro, Irene Diamond, Lewis Cullman, Leon Levy, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Robert Bernstein, Edgar Bronfman Jr., etc. are the major sponsors ($100,000 +) of the HRW.

Now, in order to be fair to Kenneth Roth, I must point out that his 2010 response to the “wipe Israel off map“, the Jewish Memri’s lie, earned him the medal of “antisemitism” from the Jewish lobby groups. Asked in 2010 about Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s statement that Israel “must be wiped off the map,” Roth suggested that the Iranian president has been misunderstood. “There was a real question as to whether he actually said that,” Roth told Zionconservative The New Republic, because the Persian language lacks an idiom for wiping off the map.
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Richard Falk slams Israel again

Posted on December 10, 2012

Rfalk[1]Professor Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for the Palestinian Territories has angered the Zionist entity once again. On December 5, 2012, he called the Zionist entity to abide by and fully implement the cease fire agreement that was brokered by US-Egypt to end the recent 8-day Israeli airstrikes on Gaza Strip.

Dr. Falk who describes himself “an American Jew” – had visited the Islamic Republic in January 1979 along with Ramsey Clark and Philip Luce. The three met Ayatullah Mahmoud Taleghani and Ayatullah Shariat Maderi in Tehran. On their way back home, they made a stop in Paris and met Imam Khomeini still living in exile. This Iranian visit became a ‘black mark’ on his ‘Jewishness’ when Falk was appointed United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for the Palestinian Territories on March 26, 2008 to a six year term. Since then, Dr. Falk has been called “anti-Israel”, a “self-hating Jew” and “Arab lover” by Israeli leaders and their Zionist cheer-leader in the West. Read here and here and here.

“The human rights expert has just concluded a week-long mission to the region, with the initial purpose assessing the overall impact of Israel’s prolonged occupation and blockade against the Gaza Strip, which is an integral part of Palestine. However, there arose an urgent need to investigate Israel’s seemingly deliberate attacks against civilian targets during recent hostilities,” said Dr. Falk.

The Special Rapporteur called for sustained pressure from the international community, including both Governments and civil society, to secure Israel’s full implementation of the cease fire agreement, noting that without such pressure it is extremely unlikely to hold. “Worldwide support for the recent General Assembly resolution that made Palestine a non-Member observer State should serve as a starting point for more concerted international protection of Palestinian rights,” he said. Read the statement in full, here.

Dr. Falk who is still in the region, is expected to submit his official report to UNHRC in June 2013.

On December 3, Geneva-based Israel-Jewish lobby group, UN Watch, complained that the international body hates Israel as during its meeting last month it passed 21 anti-Israel resolutions as compared to only 4 against the rest of the UN members. The so-called “anti-Israel” resolutions included; Israel’s exploitation of natural resorces in Gaza, West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights – and all Jewish settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Golan Heights being illegal.

On November 19, 2012, in an interview with Amy Goodman (Jewish) of Democracy Now!, Dr. Falk said: “It’s incredibly frustrating to represent the United Nations and to realize that it’s incapable of acting in a situation of such extremity from the point of view of the exitential horror that people of Gaza are being subjected to by this unlawful and criminal style of (8-day Israeli) attack“.

Lawrence Davidson Ph.D, an American academic, writer and author wrote in the defense of Richard Falk on December 3, as follows:

“Professor Falk’s experience should serve as a warning to both those who would, on the one hand, make a career out of being a spokesperson for governments or companies, and on the other, those who would dedicate themselves to “speaking truth to power.” Taking on the role of the former is the equivalent of selling your soul to leadership whose sense of right and wrong goes no further than their own local interests. Taking on the role of the latter is to face seemingly endless frustration for, as Noam Chomsky once noted, power already knows the truth and doesn’t care one jot for it.

Yet, for those who would travel down this latter road, Richard Falk is as good a role model as can be found. Having dedicated himself to the role of truth teller he is to be commended for his devotion to justice and sheer durability. He is a hero who, hopefully, will have his praises sung long after Ms Karaen Peretz (Israeli UN envoy) and Ms Susan Rice (American UN envoy) are deservedly forgotten.

Palestinian Children Victims of Zionist Occupationism


Source

The general age composition of the Palestinian people living in the occupied territories of 1967 is indicative of a young and dynamic population. According to statistics, the ratio of people under 14 years was about 40.8 percent of total inhabitants of those territories in the middle of 2011, of whom 38.9 percent lived in the West Bank and 42.2 percent in Gaza Strip[1]. Given the aggressive nature of the Zionists and their inattention to human and moral obligations, they are the most likely candidates for making the young generation of Palestinians the main target of their hostile measures. The situation in the occupied Palestinian lands is currently such that the primary rights of Palestinian children are easily violated and their human dignity is hurt. This article aims to cast a close look at internationally recognized rights of children and provide a brief review of the situation of Palestinian children and challenges facing them.
A. Children’s Rights in the Light of International Laws and Obligations

From the viewpoint of international law, including the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, “every person aging less than 18 years is considered a child unless the age limit is lowered under laws enforced in their respective countries.”[2] At the same time, the Zionist regime of Israel has reduced that age to 16 in an arbitrary measure before an independent Palestinian state is established and without giving an opportunity to the Palestinian Authority to do something about it.
At any rate, the main sources for the rights of children in international law include:

1. The United Nations Declaration of the Rights of the Child, approved by the UN General Assembly on November 20, 1959;

2. The International Convention on the Rights of the Child, approved by the UN General Assembly on November 20, 1989; and

3. The 4th Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, approved on August 12, 1949.

All the aforesaid international instruments have stipulated that recognition of the following rights is an international principle and an obligation for all governments, and they should cover all children without any discrimination on the basis of color, gender, religion, ethnic origin, wealth, affiliation, or familial status:

1. The right to life;

2. The right to suitable livelihood;

3. The right to medical healthcare;

4. The right to play and entertainment;

5. The right to psychological security and peace;

6. The right to education; and

7. The right to freedom[3].

B. Examples of Violation of Palestinian Children’s Rights

1) Victims of war

Children, as one of the most vulnerable groups in human societies, enjoy a special status in international law and humanitarian law. Both kinds of laws have put firm emphasis on the need to avoid of scaring children, but the Zionist regime of Israel has made Palestinian children regular targets of its savage attacks in blatant defiance of the aforesaid human and international obligations.

For example, during the 22-day war against Gaza Strip in 2008 and 2009, a large group of Gazan children, who made up about half of Gaza’s population, was among the main victims of the violence in war. Thousands of them are still refugees. They study in overcrowded schools or have had to drop out, are deprived of medical services, and do not have access to sanitary potable water.[4]

It is quite clear that many problems faced by the Palestinian people, especially their children, in Gaza Strip are the result of the destruction of water sanitation infrastructures as well as bombardment of the Palestinian enclave as a result of which chemical materials and phosphorus have penetrated ground water resources in Gaza during the 22-day war.

The Israeli regime has even prevented the people of Gaza from rebuilding the ruins of war, which has further exacerbated the plight of Gazan people.

In addition, according to a new report published by the London-based organization, “Save the Children,” 605 children have been killed in Gaza between 2007 and June 2012 while 2,179 children have been injured in direct confrontations between the Zionists and Palestinians. Sixty children have been also killed during conflicts with the Zionist regime’s forces or due to other kinds of confrontations, and 82 children have been injured.[5]

In the meantime, according to statistics released by the Palestinian Ministry of Information, between the end of 2000 and March 31, 2012, a total of 1,453 Palestinian children younger than 18 years have been killed and 5,000 children have been injured during the same period.[6]

2) Detention and Arrest

The basic rights of the Palestinian children, especially those Palestinian children who live in the West Bank and who are more exposed to the risk of being detained or arrested by the Zionist forces, or whose families may be taken into custody, have been frequently violated by the Zionist regime’s soldiers. According to a report released on May 25, 2012, by Richard Falk, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, nocturnal raids and arrest of family members of the Palestinian children have had a horrible psychological effect on them.

According to psychological studies on Palestinian children ageing 12 and below, there is a direct and close correlation between children watching one of their family members come to harm at the hands of the Israeli soldiers, and reduced life expectancy among them.[7]

Falk’s report also pointed to long-term detention of children away from their families, keeping them at unsuitable places away from their places of residence, torture and forced confessions, as well as preliminary interrogation of the Palestinian children inside Zionist settlements which are not accessible to the International Committee of the Red Cross as well as to the attorneys and members of the arrested children’s families.[8]

In this respect and according to Issa Ahmed Qaraqa, the Palestinian Minister of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs, the Zionist regime’s forces arrest 700 Palestinians aged under 18, including children aged 12-13 years, per year and 90 percent of them are exposed to torture and other forms of pressure and mistreatment. As a result, a total of 280 Palestinian children were still kept at Israeli prisons by July 19, 2012. A number of Palestinian children living in the West Bank and Al-Quds (Jerusalem) have been sentenced to house arrest or have been exiled from their original places of residence.[9]

3) Victims of Legal Crimes

The Zionists have created their own specific legal tools in order to target the Palestinian children. Most of those tools are discriminatory and reminiscent of an apartheid policy against the Palestinians and, of course, in stark contrast to international obligations of the Zionist regime of Israel.

A major example of this is the Israeli regime’s use of double standards when defining the concept of “child.” While based on international law, child is any person aged blow 18 years, according to special definition used by Israel’s military courts, the lowest age for trying a minor is 12 years and many Palestinian children aged 12 have been not only tried, but given heavy sentences. At the same time, when cracking down on Palestinians, the military forces of the Zionist regime consider any Palestinian child above 16 as an adult. However, when dealing with Zionist juvenile delinquents, they consider 18 as the age of legal responsibility.

Although Gadi Shamni, the commander of the Central Command of the Israeli regime, announced in 2009 that a special court for children would be established, Palestinian experts believe that the promise was just a false announcement and no actual change has taken place in the violent treatment of Palestinian children by the Israeli forces.[10]

In this relation, a group of British legal experts took a trip to Palestinian lands occupied in 1948 and 1967, and later issued a report on June 26, 2012, in which they announced that the Zionist forces had violated many articles of international law on the rights of children, including the provisions of the 4th Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, and the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. Among major instances of violations mentioned in that report were not translating orders given to children into Arabic as well as discrimination and haste in arresting children, lack of differentiation between children and adults, and exposing children to inhumane behavior and torture.[11]

4) Violence by Zionist Settlement Dwellers

According to Falk’s report on May 25, 2012, the city of Hebron and areas around it had witnessed regular incidents caused by the violence from Zionist settlement dwellers against Palestinian people.

There have been regular reports about tensions between settlement dwellers and main inhabitants of Palestinian lands, including those involving schoolchildren. There have been Palestinian schoolchildren who were threatened by settlement dwellers on their way from and to school; some of them have been even abducted and raped.[12]

According to a report by Defense for Children International, Palestine Branch, from the beginning of 2008 up to February 2012, the Zionist settlement dwellers have physically abused, and at times killed, 91 Palestinian children.[13]

5) Human Shields

Another example of the negative effects of war and inhuman treatment of Palestinian children by Zionists is to use those children as human shields. There have been many cases in which the Zionist regime’s forces, in blatant violation of their international obligations and requirements, have tied Palestinian children in front of their military vehicles and their Zionist passengers in order to protect them. In other cases, they have forced the Palestinian children to inspect bags suspected of containing explosives, so that, in case of a possible explosion, Zionists would not come to harm. In addition, there have been many instances in which the Zionist soldiers have used dogs to harass Palestinian children and have violated their human rights and dignity through physical abuse and mistreatment of those children.[14]

6) Unhealthy Living Conditions

The occupation of Gaza Strip, which gradually started following the victory of Hamas in the election for the new Palestinian parliament in 2006, and was intensified after Hamas took charge of Gaza Strip, has had profound impacts on all aspects of the Palestinians’ lives in that region, especially with regard to healthcare.

According to Falk’s report on May 25, 2012, official figures released by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) show that 40 percent of Gaza citizens live below poverty line as a result of the Israel’s siege
on their territory[15].

Under these conditions, Palestinian children are the main victims because they are going through the most sensitive part of their life, which is the growth period and puberty, and are greatly suffering from harsh conditions. Many of them have contracted various diseases as a result of malnutrition, so that, 10 percent of children below 5 years have been suffering from long-term malnutrition and subsequent short stature.

Also, 58.6 percent of schoolchildren and 68.1 percent of children aged 9-12 months in addition to 36.8 percent or almost one-third of pregnant women are suffering from iron deficiency and resultant anemia. If not treated properly, this will have a very powerful negative effect on growth of Palestinian children and infants.[16]

In addition, diseases resulting from consumption of unhealthy and untreated water, including typhus and various kinds of diarrhea have greatly increased the mortality rate of Palestinian children especially those aged below 3 years, and have increased frequency of their reference to clinics for medical services. It should be noted that many untoward effects of drinking unsanitary water by the people of Gaza will be revealed in long run.[17]

A report released by UNICEF in Mach 2011 noted that ground water resources in Gaza Strip have shown a high concentration of chemical materials including chloride, nitrate, and other pollutants. Microbiologic contamination, for example, with various kinds of coliform bacteria and streptococci found in human feces, which can easily enter the water cycle in Gaza Strip, have also led to outbreak of various kinds of infectious diarrhea and other water-borne diseases among children as well as adults in Gaza.[18]
Despite the above facts, most children in Gaza do not have suitable access to medical and healthcare services. Due to long delays in sending Gazan children, who need medical treatment, to Palestinian lands occupied in 1948 because of obstacles created by officials of the Zionist regime, many of them are in grave danger. On the whole, a total of 1,704 Palestinian children out of 3,949 children who had to be taken out of Gaza to receive medical treatment during 2011, have been denied such an opportunity. Three of them were never allowed out of Gaza and another three died while waiting to receive medical treatment.[19]

7) Demolition of Houses and Refugee Status of a Large Group of Palestinians

Due to children’s serious psychological need for having a house within which they could experience psychological peace and live with their families, children are main victims of demolition of Palestinians’ houses and buildings by the Zionist regime of Israel. The policy that the Zionists seriously pursue for the destruction of Palestinians’ houses both in the West Bank (to speed up Judaization of that region and build more Zionist settlements), and in Gaza Strip (as a result of frequent aerial and artillery strikes) has rendered many Palestinians, especially children, homeless. The policy’s ultimate goal is to force the Palestinians to leave their lands and move on to other areas.

According to statistics produced by the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions (ICAHD) in 2011, a total of 1,006 Palestinians, including 565 children, have lost their families. The figure is twice previous statistics related to 2010.
In addition, the fear and panic resulting from homelessness has had a very destructive impact on the morale of Palestinian

 
children.[20]

8) Children of Labor

Unfavorable economic conditions in the West Bank, despite promises of economic progress given by Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority Salam Fayyad and financial aid which is given to the Palestinian Authority, in addition to the consequences of Israel’s economic embargo on Gaza, has led to increased poverty in the narrow enclave, forcing Palestinian children to enter the labor market. Based on statistics released by Palestine’s Ministry of Information in 2010, a total of 65,000 children, which accounted for 6 percent of total Palestinian children aged 5-14, were working with or without a wage on the Palestinian lands.[21]
Also, according to figures released by “Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics” in 2012, the average figure of Palestinian children aged 10-17 who were working stood at 4.8 percent. Individual figures for the West Bank and Gaza Strip respectively stood at 7.1 percent and 1.4 percent.[22]

9) The Right to Education

According to OCHA’s report on the situation of Palestinians in the occupied territories, destruction of houses and forced homelessness in the West Bank, especially at Area C, has led to disruption of educational services and negative consequences resulting from lack of suitable access to educational services and high-quality learning environment. Meanwhile, according to UNICEF’s findings in Gaza Strip, homelessness of people in this area and registering children in schools other than those they have already been studying at have posed major educational challenges to both students and teachers.

There are also other factors which have led to blatant violations of the educational rights of the Palestinian children and have made continuation of their studies difficult. They include unsuitable educational infrastructures; unhealthy and unsanitary installations; destruction of schools; violence from Zionist settlement dwellers and lack of security for Palestinian children on the way to and from school; mistreatment of children by Israeli soldiers; long distances to Palestinian schools; impossibility of rebuilding schools which have been destroyed in Gaza Strip; and the sense of insecurity among Palestinian schoolchildren in their schools, including during the Israel’s 22-day war against Gaza.[23]

10) The Right to Play and Entertainment

The Palestinian children’s right to play and be entertained has been also affected by the occupationist measures of the Zionist regime of Israel. Many Palestinian children do not have a suitable place where they can play and be entertained. Many Palestinian children have to play inside their homes due to fear of the Zionist regime’s soldiers who have on many occasions attacked and killed them without warning, or due to frequent aerial and artillery attacks. All across Gaza Strip, children play in contaminated environment, which has sometimes led to their death. The deaths of nine children from the same family at Al-Barij refugee camp in Gaza which was the result of children playing near sewerage, was an example of such deaths[24]. Many Palestinian children also have to play on the lands of evacuated townships in various parts of Gaza Strip which are usually infested with all kinds of dangerous materials.

Conclusion

One of the most inhuman manifestations of the Zionist regimes’ occupationist policies is to deprive the Palestinian children of their basic and human rights. A review of the plight of the Palestinian children will clearly prove existence of a regular and calculated plan by Zionists to target and inflict the highest degree of damages on the young generation of Palestinians in order to obliterate their opportunities for education and progress and even deprive them of their basic right to live.

The Palestinian children, as innocent victims of violence, occupation, injustice and discrimination in an environment of siege and torture, have been witness to direct and indirect violation of their social, economic, health, educational and psychological rights by the Zionist soldiers and immigrants. Such a behavior on the part of the Zionist occupiers in addition to deadly silence of influential international organizations, are telltale signs of a gradual Holocaust and insidious genocide against the Palestinian society.

Endnotes

1- http://www.pclos.gov.ps/portals/_ PCBS/Downloads/book/891.pdf

2- www.unicef.org/crc

3. Ahmed Al-Hila, Maryam Eitani (2008); The suffering of the Palestinian children under Israeli occupation, Beirut, Zaituna Center for Studies and Consultations, pp. 19-24

4- http://www.savechildren.org/uk/sites /…/gazaoneyearonreport.pdf

5- Ibid

6- http://www.minfo/ps/arabic/indexphp?pagess=main&id=1240
7- www2.ohchr.org/English/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/10session/A.HRC.10.20.pdf

8- Ibid

9- www.alzaytouna.net/permalink/20929

10- www.malaf.info/?page=ShowDetails&id=10824&table=padocuments&CatId=

11- www.raya.ps/ar/news/550061.html

12- www2.ohchr.org/English/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/10session/A.HRC.10.20.pdf

13-http://arabic.dci-palestine.org/content/%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D8%B1000

14- www.amin.org/articles.php?t=repot+&id=2888

15- www2.ohchr.org/English/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/10session/A.HRC.10.20.pdf

16- www.savethechildren.org.uk/resources/online_library/gazas-children-falling-behinc

17- Ibid

18- www.unicef.org/ /FINAL_summary_protecting_children_from-un

19- www2.ohchr.org/Englis/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/10session/A.HRC.10.20.pdf
20- www.icahd.org//Demolishing%20Homes%20Demolishing%2opeac…
21- www.minfo/ps/arabic/indexphp?pagess=main&id=1240

22- www.alzaytouna.net/permalink/22810.html.

23- www.unicef.org/media56025.html.

24- www.samanews.com/index.php?act=show&id=138600

Key Words: Palestinian Children, Zionist Occupationism, International Laws, Detention and Arrest, Legal Crimes, Human Shields, Living Conditions, Children of Labor, Goudarzi

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

A Letter to Baroness Warsi

 The Jewish Chronicle reported that Baroness Sayeeda Warsi has complained to the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights about Richard Falk’s posting of an “unacceptable” cartoon on his blog.

Richard Falks, a Jewish Professor of Law at Princeton believes that transformation of the Palestine/Israel situation will come about through the campaigns and actions of civil society, including boycotts.

The lady clearly needs some help in understanding the cartoon and why it is acceptable and appropriate.

 


Dear Baroness Warsi,
                                What is it that you don’t get about Richard Falk’s posting of a cartoon and of his call for a boycott of Jewish Settlement companies?
Please can I help?
The crucial point in the cartoon – please try to remember this – is that the dog, clad in Israeli nationalist garb and Jewish religious garb, enclosed in a USA
protective garment, is peeing on the Statue of Justice. Deprivation of Justice is inseparable from deprivation of Liberty. 
  • Israel has for decades, with USA aid, continued an illegal  military occupation of Palestine. (An offence against Justice and the Liberty of Palestinians). 
  • The State of Israel evicts Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem and demolishes their houses, whilst building thousands of houses for Jews only on Palestinian land .(The Judaisation of Jerusalem, as well as the demolition of houses, is unjust, illegal, an offence against Palestinian Liberty) 
  • The State of Israel illegally imprisons and frequently tortures 7,000 Palestinian children a year. (Unjust to those youngsters and their families and an offence against Palestinian Liberty).
  • The State of Israel has imposed sanctions against and imprisoned 1.5 million Gazans behind a Wall (I forgot to mention, that they first stole their land and destroyed Gaza’s 44 villages. Today the descendants of the refugees are deliberately kept without clean drinking water, sufficient food, medication, educational materials and so on. Maybe here, we might ask the honourable lady if she would consider this an injustice if it happened to her and her family? another injustice and offence against Palestinian Liberty perhaps?)
  • The State of Israel controls Palestinian Air, Sea and Land space with it’s “state of the art” military techno-power, reinforced with it’s arsenal of nuclear weapons in case they are ever needed. (an offence against Justice and Liberty to which the Gazans make known their objection with paltry Qassam rockets.)
  • The State of Israel implements targetted assassinations against elected Palestinian political leaders, spiritual leaders and civilians. (an OAJL*)
  • The State of Israel prevents Palestinians travelling for purposes of Work, Education,Religious observance and Social activity (an OAJL)

    * OAJL  this is an abreviation for Offence Against Justice and Liberty
 Richard Falk, a kindly and just man, gets a little upset about his fellow human-beings, especially small children, suffering privation, unwarranted misery and death. (Hence the dog chewing up the bones of humans). As a good Jew, he knows from personal experience that much of Israeli and World Jewry, among many others, supports the above malign system and that some are even financially benefitting from it. He gets upset at the injustice of Jews and their friends  building houses, colleges, universities and companies on stolen land, selling and buying goods manufactured illegally on another people’s land. This tender-hearted Jew has therefore asked decent people around the world not to buy goods derived from stolen Palestinian land. He feels that to do so is to support a malign and illegal system and to show disrespect for the rule of Law. He knows that Peace can never grow on such rotten soil. 
I do hope the above explanation helps.
Anne Candlin
West Lancashire

Palestinian hunger strikes: Why still invisible?

by Richard Falk, source
 

When it is realized that Mahatma Gandhi shook the British Empire with a series of hunger strikes, none lasting more than 21 days, it is shameful that Palestinian hunger strikers ever since last December continue to exhibit their extreme courage by refusing food for periods ranging between 40 and over 90 days, and yet these exploits are unreported by the media and generally ignored by relevant international institutions. The latest Palestinians who have aroused emergency concerns among Palestinians, because their hunger strikes have brought them to death’s door, are Hassan Safadi and Samer Al-Barq. Both had ended long earlier strikes because they were promised releases under an Egyptian brokered deal that was announced on May 14, 2012, and not consistently implemented by israel. Three respected human rights organizations that have a long and honorable record of investigating Israeli prison conditions have issued a statement in the last several days expressing their ‘grave concern’ about the medical condition of these two men and their ‘utmost outrage’ at the treatment that they have been receiving from the Israeli Prison Service.

For instance, Hassan Safadi, now on the 59th day of a second hunger strike, having previously ended a 71 day fast after the release agreement was signed, is reported by Addameer and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, to be suffering from kidney problems, extreme weakness, severe weight loss, headaches, dizziness, and has difficulty standing. It is well established in medical circles that there exists a serious and risk of cardio-vascular failure for a hunger strike that lasts beyond 45 days.

In addition to the physical strains of a prolonged hunger strike, the Israeli Prison Service puts deliberately aggravates the situation facing these hunger strikers in ways that have been aptly described as cruel and degrading punishment. Such language is generally qualifies as the accepted international definition of torture. For instance, hunger strikers are punitively placed in solitary confinement or put coercively in the presence of other prisoners or guards not on hunger strikes so as to be taunted by those enjoying food. It is also an added element of strain that these individuals were given false hopes of release, and then had these expectations dashed without even the disclosure of reasons. Both of these strikers have been and are being held under administrative detention procedures that involve secret evidence and the absence of criminal charges. The scrupulous Israel human rights organization, B’Tselem, has written that the use of administrative detention is a violation of international humanitarian law unless limited to truly exceptional cases, which has not been the case as attested even in the Israeli press. Hassn Safaedi’s experience with administrative detention exhibits the manner of its deployment by Israeli occupation authorities. Administrative detention was initially relied upon to arrest him when he was a child of 16, and since then he has served a variety of prison terms without charges or trial, and well authenticated reports of abuse, amounting to a total of ten years, which means that during his 34 years of life a considerable proportion of his life has been behind bars on the basis of being alleged security threat, but without any opportunity for elemental due process in the form of opportunity to counter evidence, presumption of innocence, and confronting accusations. Amnesty International has recently again called for an international investigation of the treatment of Palestinian detainees and reassurances that Palestinians are not being punished because they have recourse to hunger strikes.

It is important to be reminded of the context of hunger strikes. Such undertakings require great determination of which most of us are incapable, and an exceptionally strong inner commitment that connects life and death in a powerful, almost mystical, unity. It is no wonder that Palestinian hunger strikers have been inspired by the 1989 Tiananman Square Declaration of Hunger Strikers: “We are not in search of death; we are looking for real life.” The ten IRA hunger strikers, led by Bobby Sands, who died in 1981 at the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland transformed the British Government’s approach to the conflict, leading to establishing at last a genuine peace process that was climaxed by the Good Friday Agreement that brought the violence mostly to an end. Hunger strikes of this depth send a signal of desperation that can only be Ignored by a mobilization of moral insensitivity generating a condition that Is somewhere between what psychologists call ‘denial’ and others describe as ‘moral numbness.’
So why has the world media ignored the Palestinian hunger strikers? Must we conclude that only Palestinian violence is newsworthy for the West?

Must Palestinian hunger striking prisoners die before their acts are of notice? Why is so much attention given to human rights abuses elsewhere in the world, and so little attention accorded to the Palestinian struggle that is supposed to engage the United Nations and underpin so much of the conflictual behavior in the Middle East? Aside from a few online blogs and the Electric Intifada there is a media blackout about these most recent hunger strikes, another confirmation of the Politics of Invisibility when it comes to Palestinian victimization.

After all, the United Nations, somewhat ill-advisedly, is one of the four parties (the others being the United States, Russia, the European Union) composing The Quartet, which has set forth the roadmap that is supposed to produce peace, and should exhibit some special responsibility for such a breach of normalcy in the treatment of Palestinians detained in Israeli prisons. Addameer, al-Haq, and Physicians for Human Rights-Israel have called on three international actors to do something about this situation, at the very least, by way of fact-finding missions and reports—UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, the European Union, and the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Is it too much to expect some sort of response? We do not expect the United States Government, so partisan in all aspects of the conflict, to raise its voice despite its protestations of concern about human rights in a wide array of countries and despite President Obama’s almost forgotten promises made in his June 2009 Cairo speech to understand the suffering of the Palestinian people and to turn a new page in Middle Eastern policy.

Since I have been following this saga of hunger strikes unfold in recent months, starting with Khader Adnan and Hana Shalabi in December 2011, I have been deeply moved by the consistently elevated human quality of these hunger strikers that is disclosed through their statements and interactions with family members and the public. Their words of devotion and loving solidarity are possessed of an authenticity only associated with feelings rarely expressed except in extreme situations when life itself is in jeopardy. This tenderness of language, an absence of hate and even bitterness, and a tone of deep love and devotion is what makes these statements from the heart so compelling. I find these sentiments to be spiritually uplifting. Such utterances deserve to be as widely shared as possible to allow for a better understanding of what is being lost through this long night of the soul afflicting the Palestinian people. Surely, also, the politics of struggle is implicit, but the feelings being expressed are at once deeply political and beyond politics.

I can only hope that informed and sensitive writers, poets, singers, and journalists, especially among the Palestinians, who share my understanding of these hunger strikes will do their best to convey to the world the meaning of such Palestinian explorations in the interior politics of nonviolence. These are stories that deserve to be told in their fullness maybe by interviews, maybe through a series of biographical sketches, maybe by poems, paintings, and songs, but they need to be told at this time in the same spirit of love, empathy, solidarity, and urgency that animates theses utterances of the Palestinian hunger strikers.

I paste below one sample to illustrate what I have been trying to express: a letter from Hassan Safadi to his mother written during his current hunger strike, published on July 30, 2012 by the Electric Intifada, translated from Arabic by a young Palestinian blogger, Linah Alsaafin, who contributed a moving commentary that is a step in the direction I am encouraging:

“First I want to thank you dear mother for your wonderful letter, whose every word penetrated my heart and immersed me in happiness, love and tenderness. I am blessed to have a mother like you. Please thank everyone who stood in solidarity and prayed for me.

What increased my happiness and contentment was you writing that you raise your head up proudly because of me…I hope your head will always be lifted high and your spirits elevated oh loved one. As for waiting for my release, I remind you mother we are believers.

We are waiting for God’s mercy with patience…as Prophet Muhammad related God’s words, “I am as my slave thinks…” As you await my release, think positively and God willing, God will not leave you and your work and He will not disappoint your expectations.

Thank God I have a mother like you, a patient believer who prays for me from her heart, and I thank you dear mother for the beautiful song you wrote that warmed my chest as I read the lyrics..

Congratulations to Nelli’s [his sister] twins…I pray to God they will be attributed to Muslims and to Islam and for them to receive the best upbringing, and for their time to be better than our time.

Say hello and salute Abu Jamal and thank him for his efforts and say hello to Ayah and Amir and tell them I miss them, tell everyone who asked about me I say hello, and pray for them.

How beautiful the last line in your letter is! “God is with you, may He protect you and take care of you…I leave you in His safe hands.”

Please mother, always pray for me using those words especially in the month of Ramadan, happy holidays.

Your son”

Richard Falk is an international law and international relations scholar who taught at Princeton University for forty years. Since 2002 he has lived in Santa Barbara, California, and taught at the local campus of the University of California in Global and International Studies and since 2005 chaired the Board of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
 

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Israel says NO to UNHRC settlements probe

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has set up a panel of three internationally renowned femal lawyers and human-rights experts to probe illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, a move further irked the Zionist entity which said it will bar its access to the sites of inquiry.

In March 2012, the Zionist entity severed contacts with the UNHRC when the 47-member body announced it would investigate the Jewish settlements, which are considered illegal under international law. As result, Netanyahu declared UNHRC anti-Israel.

Israel’s foreign ministry issued a statement saying the panel “will find no cooperation in Israel and its members will not be allowed to enter Israel and the Palestinian territories“.

Abraham Foxman, Jewish supremacist head of Israel lobby group, Anti-Defamation League, has slammed the UNHRC for appointing Justice Christine Chanet of France (Chairperson) and Asma Jahangir from Pakistan (member). According to Abe Foxman these two have been biased toward Israel in the past. The third member of the panel, Unity Dow, is from Botswana.

The Jewish group, UN Watch, has also denounced UNHRC for its “unbalanced probe” of Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

According to the special UN rapporteur for human rights in the occupied territories, Richard Falk (with Jewish family roots), at least 3,500 building were under construction in the West Bank in 2011, not including Jewish settlements in the annexed Arab East Jerusalem.

Richard Falk said on Monday that such buildings on Palestinian land “more or less closes the book on the reality and feasibility” of a two-state solution to the conflict.

The Palestinian position gets weaker and weaker through time and the Israelis get more and more of a fait accompli through their unlawful activities. Is it just a delaying tactic that allows the Israelis to expand the settlements, expand the settled population, demolish more and more Palestinian homes and structures and engage in a program that has assumed such proportions that the language of ethnic cleansing is the only way to describe the demographic changes in East Jerusalem?,”said Richard Falk.

The all-female panel is assigned the task of fact-finding mission to “investigate the implications of the illegal Jewish settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the native Palestinian Muslims and Christians in the occupied territory and East Jerusalem,” says UNHRC president Laura Dupuy Lasserre.

According to Israeli propagandists the three females are “unfit” to judge Israel’s treatment of native population in the occupied territories – because Justice Christine Chanet, based on her personal experience in the past, said that “it’s very difficult to have real dialogue” with the Zionist entity. Asma Jahangir , a former President of Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association – is sister of Hina Jilani who was on the UN’s Goldstone Commission in 2009. The commission was chaired by Justice Richard Goldstone, a Zionist Jew from South Africa. Justice Unity Dow, is the first female Justice of Botswana High Court. She is also an author and human rights activist.

It’s funny how the Zionist regime and its drum-beating idiots shamelessly accuse Sudan, Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Libya and other Muslim countries for gross human rights abuses – but are affraid to let the world body to investigate Israel’s human rights abuses. American writer and blogger, John Kaminsky summed up Israel’s problem in the following statement:

When you read the history of Israel from objective sources, you discover that it’s an outlaw state, created by the powers that be by stealing the land from its original inhabitants, and systematically exterminating them ever since“.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Israel and ‘Jewish identity’: The search goes on!

After learning the true nature of the state of Israel hiding behind the ‘Jewish facade’ – more and more Jewish intellectuals are searching for their ‘Jewish identity’. Rabbi Michael Lerner (Beyt Tikkun synagogue in Berkeley), Gilad Atzmon, Roger Tucker, Israel Shamir, Hilda Silverman and Professor Richard Falk being among them. Incidently, all of them have earned the title of ‘Self-Hating, Israel-Threatening (S.H.I.T)‘ Jews from Israel lobby groups.
Rabbi Michael Lerner, the editor of Tikkun Magazine, is torn between his ‘Jewish conscience’ and his loyalty to the state of Israel. The Rabbi explained the difference in his feelings about Israelis compared to his feelings about Palestinians by saying:

On the one side is my family; on the other side are decent human beings. I want to support human beings all over the planet but I have a special connection to my family“.

Unlike Rabbi Lerner, Roger Tucker doesn’t show his dual allegiance when it comes to Jewishness vs state of Israel.

Semite is a linguistic term denoting peoples who spoke Semitic languages. Israelis are not Semites in spite of the fact that they speak Hebrew (it’s an adopted language of far too recent a vintage). The Zionists who created Israel and still run it are descended from the Khazars, linguistically a “Turko-finnic” people. The vast majority of Semites speak Arabic as their native language, making tribal Jewry, particularly the Israelis, the only people in the world who are truly “anti-Semitic” – and they’re virulently anti-Semitic,says Tucker.

Gilad Atzmon who was born into a prominent Israeli Zionist family – even gets angry when called “an Israeli Jew”. He offers a perfect example of how ex-Zionist Israeli Jews can liberate themselves from the shackles of a brutal, abusive, and ultimately doomed idealogy and identity. Gilad Atzmon has been subject of several of my posts.
Israel Shamir in disgust has said goodbye to both Judaism and Israel. Eleven years ago, Israel Shamir wrote:

Israel is disgusting to the Arabs, the French, the English, even to herself. The red-hot intifada is the fiery river, into which melts and sinks to the bottom another myth of the 20th century – the theory of Zionism. According to designs of Herzl and Jabotinsky, a small geopolitical monstrosity was created on Arab lands. Its settlers have imposed on America and Germany the annual tribute of five billions dollars. They pour napalm on the mosques and transform whole nations into homeless refugees. They brainwash the whole world by their ashes of Auschwitz”.

Hilda Silverman (d. 2008), a human-rights activist believed that Jewishness was absolutely not a bar to criticizing Israel, in fact her Jewishness compelled her to do so. She met Yasar Arafat in the 1980s and even wrote a poem in memory of Rachel Corrie who has been named Mother Teresa for Islamists by Dr. Steven Plaut (Haifa University).
Professor Richard Falk, international jurist and UN Special Rapporteur for Occupied Palestinian Territories also wrote on his Jewish identity in January 2011.
As someone who is both Jewish and supportive of the Palestinian struggle for a just and sustainable peace, I am often asked about my identity. The harshest critics of my understanding of the Israel-Palestine conflict contend that I am a self-hating Jew, which implies that sharp criticism of Israel and Zionism are somehow incompatible with affirming a Jewish identity. Of course, I deny this. For me to be Jewish is, above all, to be preoccupied with overcoming injustice and thirsting for justice in the world, and that means being respectful toward other peoples regardless of their nationality or religion, and empathetic in the face of human suffering whoever and wherever victimization is encountered,” says Dr. Falk.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

Historic Hunger Strikes: Lightning in the Skies of Palestine

By Richard Falk

May 8 2012

There is ongoing militant expression of Palestinian resistanceto the abuses of Israel’s 45 years of occupation and de facto annexation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and five year blockade of Gaza taking the form of a series of hunger strikes. Recourse to this desperate tactic of courageous self-sacrifice is an extreme form of nonviolence, and should whenever and wherever it occurs be given close attention.

Palestinians have protested by hunger strikes in the past but failed to inspire the imagination of the wider Palestinian community or shake the confidence of Israeli officialdom. Despite the averted gaze of the West, especially here in North America, there are some signs that this time the hunger strikes have crossed a historic threshold of no return.

These strikes started by the individual exploit of a single person, Khader Adnan, at the end of 2011. Dragged from his home in the village of Arraba near Jenin by a night raid by dozens of Israeli soldiers, humiliated and roughed up in the presence of his two and four year old daughter, carried away shackled and blindfolded, roughly interrogated, and then made subject to an administrative decree for the eighth time in his young life, Adnan’s inner conscience must have screamed ‘Enough!’ and he embarked on an open-ended hunger strike. He continued it for 66 days, and agreed to take food again only after the Israeli authorities relented somewhat, including a pledge not to subject Adnan to a further period of administrative detention unless further incriminating evidence came to the surface. Upon release, Adnan to depersonalize his ordeal insisted on visiting the families of other Palestinians currently under administrative detention before returning to his own home.

He has spoken out with firm gentleness and invited persons of conscience everywhere to join in the struggle to induce Israel to abandon administrative detention, and the accompanying violations of Palestinian human rights. Khader Adnan’s open letter to the people of the world is reproduced below to convey the tone and substance of his struggle.

Supporters of Hana Shalabi
Following Adnan, and inspired by him, was Hana Shalabi, a young Palestinian woman subject to a similar abusive arrest, accompanied by humiliations associated with her dress and sexual identity. Shalabi was from the villange of Burqin also near Jenin, and had been released a few months earlier in October 2011 as part of the prisoner exchange that was negotiated to obtain the release of the sole Israeli captive, Gilad Shalit. She had seldom strayed from her family home prior to the re-arrest on February 16, 2012, and her life was described as follows by her devoted sister, Zahra: “The four months between October and February were trouble-free days, bursting with dreams and ambitions. Hana loved to socialize and meet with people. She was busy with getting her papers in order to register for university, with her eyes set on enrolling at the American University in Jenin.

  

She wanted to get her driver’s license, and later buy a car. She went on a shopping spree, buying new carpets and curtains for her bedroom…and she dreamed of getting married and of finding the perfect man to spend the rest of her life with.” It is little wonder that when arrested in the middle of the night she reacted in the manner described by Zahra: “She was panicking, and kept repeating over and over again that she was not going with the soldiers because she didn’t do anything.”





Shalabi Gets Freedom… In Gaza



As with Adnan, Shalabi was released after she was in critical condition, but in a vindictive manner, being sent to live in Gaza for three years, thereby separated from her family and village, which were her places of refuge, love, and nurturing. She also made it clear that her experience of resistance was not meant for herself alone, but was intended to contribute to the struggle against prison abuse and the practice e of administrative detention, but even more generally as engagement in the struggle for Palestinian rights, so long denied. The example set by Adnan and Shalabi inspired others subject to similar treatment at the hands of the Israelis arrest and prison service. Several Palestinians detained by administrative detention decrees commenced hunger strikes at the end of February, and as many as 1650 others, and possibly more, initiated a massive hunger strike on Palestinian Prisoner’s Day, April 17ththat is continuing, and has been named ‘the battle of empty stomachs.’ The main battlefield is the mind of the oppressor, whether to give in and seem weak or remain firm and invite escalating censure, as well as Palestinian militancy, should any of those now in grave condition die.

 

The latest news suggests that Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh, continuing their hunger strike that started on February 28th of this year, are clinging to life by a thread. A few days ago they were both been finally transferred to civilian hospitals. Mr. Halahleh after the 70th day without food announced that he was no longer willing even to drink any water or accept further medication.

As might be expected the voices of concern from the international community have been muted and belated. The International Committee of the Red Cross has finally expressed in public its concern for the lives of these strikers. The UN Envoy to the Middle East, Robert Serry, never someone outspoken, acknowledged a few days ago in a brief and perfunctory statement that he was‘deeply troubled’ by the danger to these hunger strikers, as if such a sentiment was somehow sufficient to the outrages being inflicted.
More persuasively, several human rights NGOs, including Physicians for Human Rights–Israel have been reminding Israel of its obligation to allow family visits, which prison authorities have repeatedly denied, despite it being an accepted tenet of medical ethics that is affirmed in Israel’s Patient’s Rights Law.


On May 7, 2012 the Israel’s High Court of Justice denied urgent petitions for release from administrative detention filed on behalf of Mr. Diab and Mr. Halahleh. The Court in a classic example of the twisted way judges choose to serve the state rather than the cause of justice declared: “Hunger strikes cannot serve as an element in a decision on the very validity of administrative detention, since that would be confusing the issue.” Would it be so confusing to say that without some demonstration of evidence of criminality rejecting such a petition amounts to imposing a death sentence without even the pretensions of ‘a show trial’ that relies on coerced confessions? Israel’s highest judicial body leaves no doubt about their priorities by invoking anti-terrorism as a blanket justification, saying that Israel “should not have to apologize for securing its own safety.”


Other reports that the Israeli government has yet to feel pressure from European governments to act in a more humanitarian manner in response to these hunger strikes, but is worried that such pressure might come soon.


After remaining silent for a long time, Robert Serry, the UN Envoy to the Middle East, a few days ago timidly issued a public statement saying that he was ‘deeply troubled’ by the near death condition of the Mr. Diab and Mr. Halahleh.


On a wider canvas, the hunger strikes are clearly having some effect on Israeli prison policy, although it is not clearly discernible as yet. The Israeli Public Security Minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, convened a meeting in which he voiced the opinion that Israeli reliance on administrative detention was excessive, and should be reduced. There is also some discussion with officials of the Israeli Prison Service and a committee representing some of the April 17thprisoners on a series of demands relating to prison conditions.


The following demands have been articulated by the April 17th hunger strikers, under the banner of ‘The Prisoners Revolution’:


1. Ending the Israeli Administrative detention and solitary confinement, in which Palestinians were imprisoned for more than ten consecutive years, in solitary cells that lack basic human necessities of life.


2. Allowing family visits to those from the Gaza Strip due to political decisions and unjust laws, such as the so-called “law of Shalit.


3. Improving the livelihood of prisoners inside Israeli Jails and allowing basic needs such as a proper health treatment, education and TV channels and newspapers.


4. Putting an end to the humiliation policy carried by the Israeli Prison Service against Palestinian prisoners and their families, through humiliating naked inspection, group punishment, and night raids.

**********


April 30 2012

Khader Adnan’s Open Letter to the Free People of the World

In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,*

* Praise be to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon the Messenger of
Allah.*

Dear free people of the world.
Dear oppressed and disenfranchised around the globe.
Dear friends of our people, who stood with me with a stern belief in freedom and dignity for my people and our prisoners languishing in the Occupation’s prisons.

Dear free women and men, young and elderly, ordinary people as well as intellectual elites everywhere –
I address you today with an outpouring of hope and pain for every Palestinian that suffers from the occupation of his land, for each of us that has been killed, wounded or imprisoned by the state of terror, that denies anything beautiful in our lives, even the smile of our children and families. I am addressing you in my first letter following my release – praying it will not be the last – after Allah granted me freedom, pride and dignity.

I was an “administrative detainee”in the jail of occupation for four months, out of which I have spent 66 days on hunger strike.

I was driven to declare an open-ended hunger strike by the daily harassment and violation of my people’s rights by the Israeli Zionist occupation. The last straw for me were the ongoing arrests, the brutal nighttime raid on my house, my violent detention, during which I was taken to the “Mavo Dotan” settlement on our land occupied 1967, and the beatings and humiliation I was treated to during arrest interrogation. The way I was treated during the interrogation at the Jalameh detention center, using the worse and lowest verbal insults in the dictionary.

After questioning, I was sentenced to imprisonment under administrative detention with no charges, which proves mine and others’ arrests serve only to maintain a quota of prisoners, to harass us, to restrict our freedom and to undermine our determination, pride and dignity.

I write today to thank all those who stood tall in support of my people,with our prisoners, with Hana al-Shalabi and with myself. I call on you to stand for justice pride and dignity in the face of occupation. The assault on the freedom and dignity of the Palestinian people is an assault on free people of the world by a criminal occupation that threatens the security, freedom and dignity of all, no matter where. Please, continue in exposing this occupation, boycotting and isolating it internationally. Expose its true face, the one that was clearly exposed in the attack of an Israeli officer on our Danish cohort. Unlike that attack, the murder our people is a crime that goes by unspoken of and slips away from the lens of the camera.

Our prisoners are dying in silence. Hundreds of defenders of freedom are on hunger strike inside the prisons, including the eight knights, Bilal Diab and Thaer Hlahalh, who are now on their 61stday of hunger strike, Hassan Safadi, Omar Abu Shalal, Mahmoud Sarsak, Mahmoud Sarsal, Mohammad Taj, Jaafar Azzedine (who was arrested solely for standing in solidarity with myself) and Ahmad haj Ali. Their lives now are in great danger.

We are all responsible and we will all lose if we anything happen to them. Let us take immediate action to pressure the Occupation into releasing them immediately, or their children could never forgive us.Let all those free and revolutionary join hands against the Occupation’s oppression, and take to the streets – in front of the Occupation’s prisons, in front of its embassies and all other institutions backing it around the world.

With deep appreciation,

*Khader Adnan *

++++

Having followed these hunger strikes for several months, I am convinced that these individuals subject to administrative detention are ordinary persons living a normal life, although chafing under the daily rigors and indignities of prolonged occupation. Israeli commentary tends to divert humanitarian concerns by branding these individuals as ‘terrorists,’ taking note of their alleged affiliation with Islamic Jihad. Adnan who is obviously preoccupied with his loving family, a baker by profession, working in his village, does not seem a particularly political person beyond the unavoidable political response to a structure of domination that is violent, cruel, and abusive. The language of his Open Letter is one that exhibits moral intensity, and seeks support for the Palestinian struggle for a sustainable peace with justice. It has none of the violent imagery or murderous declarations found in Al Qaeda’s characteristic calls for holy warfare against the infidels.

I was impressed by Hana Shalabi’s sister’s response when asked about the alleged connection with Islamic Jihad. Zahra responded to the question with a smile saying, ‘She’s not really Islamic Jihad. She doesn’t belong to any faction. When Israel imprisons you, their security forces ask which political faction you belong to. Hana chose Islamic Jihad on a whim.’ Even if it was than a whim, for a religious person to identify with Islamic Jihad it does not at all imply a commitment to or support for terrorist tactics of resistance. Zahra asks rhetorically, ‘Does she have missiles or rockets? Where is the threat to Israel? ..Why can’t we visit her? She has done nothing.’ And finally, ‘I would never place my enemy in my sister’s position…I would not wish this on anyone.’

Israel has by vague allegations of links to terrorist activities tried its best to dehumanize these hunger strikers, or to dismiss such actions as the foolish or vain bravado of persons ready to renounce their lives by their own free will. But their acts and words if heeded with empathy, their show of spiritual stamina and sense of mission, convey an altogether different message, one that exhibits the finest qualities that human beings can ever hope to achieve. Those of us who watch such heroic dramas unfold should at least do our best to honor these hunger strikers, and not avert our eyes, and do our utmost to act in solidarity with their struggles in whatever way we can.

We cannot now know whether these hunger strikes will spark Palestinian resistance in new and creative ways. What we can already say with confidence is that these hunger strikers are writing a new chapter in the story line of resistance Sumud, and their steadfastness is for me a Gandhian Moment in the Palestinian struggle.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

The unfortunate division over Gilad Atzmon

The unfortunate division over Gilad Atzmon

Alison WeirWhile people are suffering in Israeli prisons and being killed in Gaza, it is sad to see time and energy expended in a campaign against Israeli author and saxaphonist Gilad Atzmon. I respect and like people on both sides of this controversy and am troubled over this distracting and destructive (but, I hope, temporary) split.
I, of course, come down on the side of open discussion, even when the subject matter is difficult or troubling – in fact, that’s probably when it’s most needed. I believe in such old fashioned but critical concepts as the free marketplace of ideas, and I oppose censorship and would-be “thought police” telling others what they may or may not do, even when those attempting to do this have created valuable work that I admire.

The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, which sponsored a discussion with Atzmon, has posted the most recent letter against Atzmon, followed by Atzmon’s response here.

This recent letter against Atzmon was preceeded by an earlier one, which was posted on this anonymous blog; interestingly, Palestinians seem to have made up an extremely small percentage of its signatories. My guess is that some of the people behind the first letter helped push for the recent attack, though perhaps I’m wrong.

Despite this campaign against Atzmon, many people, including Richard Falk, Samir Abed Rabo, and James Petras, have endorsed Atzmon’s book, calling it a “must-read,” and many others have spoken up in his defense.

A Palestinian activist sent out an email with the subject header: “Palestinian ‘activists’ stand on the side of Israel and AIPAC,” that reads:

Palestinian “academists / activists” stand on the side of Israel and AIPAC. Willingly or unwillingly, they distort Gilad Atzmon work and thought. They don’t seem to have ever listened to his lectures or read his book, “The Wandering Who?” Their vicious attack will not silence or convince this wonderful man to abandon his staunch and effective support of the Palestinian cause. The great musician, a former Israeli Jew, is a humanist and a Palestinian at heart. I am ashamed as a Palestinian. I am greatly honored to have him as a friend.

Rich Siegel has written about the attempted censorship in “Permission to examine ‘Jewishness’.

Kevin Barrett has discussed the situation in “Why Hate Gilad Atzmon?” and “Why Hate Gilad Atzmon Pt. 2: “He’s WRONG!” (Or Is He?)

Oren Ben-Dor has opposed such attempted black-listing of Atzmon for years and in n 2008 wrote “The Silencing of Gilad Atzmon,”explaining why he opposed the campaign against Atzmon. He and a number of other prominent thinkers have refused to sign these letters.
There are numerous commentaries on the British website Deliberation.info, such as this, this, and this.


Below is Jeff Blankfort’s response, which has circulated widely in emails (with his permission) but that I don’t believe is yet posted anywhere. Philip Weiss banned Jeff from commenting on Mondoweiss awhile ago, despite Jeff’s important work on Palestine, which predated Weiss’s awakening by several decades.

I suspect whoever initiated the list, and it appears that it was Abumimah, was pressed to do so by the Jewish left equivalent of the mainstream Jewish machers who pressure local black leaders to denounce Louis Farrakhan whenever he makes an appearance and has the audacity to speak out Jews and the slave trade which, like Zionist-Nazi collaboration, is a classic Left taboo.

Most of the rest, with the exception of Joseph Massad, probably signed on because he asked them do so. I would bet that none of them, some of whom are friends of mine, have read or even seen your book. Massad, it should be recalled was the Palestinian professor at Columbia who was targeted by The David Project and accused of harassing Jewish students. He showed that he had learned his lesson by being the very first person to write an article denouncing Mearsheimerand Walt for their LRB article on the Israel Lobby which was lauded and reprinted by Asad Abu Khalil who seems almost as concerned about antisemitism as Abe Foxman.

After I took Massad’s article apart, paragraph by paragraph, for Dissident Voice, Henry Herskovitz in Ann Arbor suggested that Massad debate me on the issue when he made a speaking appearance in Michigan. Massad declined, claiming that I was an “antisemite.” When I wrote to Massad, asking if he had made such a statement I received no reply which told me all I need to know about him. Abu Khalil would only debate me and Hatem Bazian, one of the signatories to the letter, if we stipulated that The Lobby was the only factor in determining US policy, which of course we wouldn’t.

It would be nice if there was such a statement denouncing those in the movement who dismiss the power of the Jewish establishment over US Middle East policy but then they would be subject to charges of “antisemism” themselves, which most of them seem to greatly fear. So it goes.

A partial list of those sponsoring Atzmon’s talks and his remaining events can be seen here.
I hope anyone who is interested will attend these events, and I hope that all of us will continue our urgent work to bring justice and peace. Today a boy in Gaza died from his wounds and Israeli jet fighters pounded Gaza City’s men, women, and children. We need to join together to expose and stop this carnage.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

The ‘Jewish Messiah’

DateThursday, February 23, 2012 at 10:01PM AuthorGilad Atzmon

http://haroonhaider.com

Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon, an Israel-born Jew, who has been championing for a single democratic Palestinian state for Muslims, Christians and Jews for years. He openly shows his hatred of Zionists and the so-called ‘anti-Zionist’ Jews – because he believes both of those groups are two-faces of the same coin – working for the occupation of Palestine.

The Jewish Lobby’s re-action to his new book ‘The Wandering Who: A study of Jewish Identity Politics‘ has proved that Gilad Atzmon could be the only Jew who unifies the Zionist horde while among the Gentile, it’s Iranian President Dr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In reviewing Giad Atzmon’s book – Shahram Vahdany called Gilad ‘King of Jews’. Read the review here.
It seems as if the Zio-cons on both sides of the pond are now in a state of panic – In an obviously orchestrated attack, the Zionist mouthpiece The Jewish Chronicle of London, the Islamophobic Award winning ‘Harry’s Place’ and the ex-Israeli concentration camp guard Jeffrey Goldberg, all launched a typical Hasbara smear & intimidation campaign, in which they labeled both Professor Mearsheimer and myself anti Semites. I was also called a ‘neo Nazi’, a ‘Hitler apologist,’ a ‘Holocaust denier’ and a ‘hatemonger’,” writes Gilad Atzmon.
UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories Professor Richard Falks calls The Wandering Who a kind of diary of Atzmon’s journey from a hardcore Israeli nationalist to a de-Zionised patriot of humanity and a passionate advocate of justice for the Palestinian people. The metaphor of a journey, which pervades the experience of the Jewish Diaspora, is apt — it even seeps into the title.
Gilad was recently interviewed by Eric Walberg, published in Egyptian daily Al-Ahram.
When asked if Atzmon agrees with Iranian President Ahmedinejad in his speech to the “World Without Zionism” conference in 2005 that “this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time“? Gilad replied: “I am certain that political discourse is not going to bring a change. I am afraid to say it, but I think Israel is in a bad way and its supportive crowd isn’t much better“.
In his new book Gilad writes: “Within the context of Jewish identity politics and ideology, history doesn’t play a guiding role. Zionists and Jewish ‘anti’ Zionists alike insist that circumstances made the Jews into what they are. I do not buy it. The emancipation of European Jewry started two hundred years ago with the French Revolution. And as we can see the Jewish conditions didn’t change much. Also, Israel, which was supposed to be an exemplary case of Jewish proletarian rebirth, is in fact a hard-capitalist hell.
Gilad told Eric Walberg: “The difference between the Jewish tribal ideology and other tribal concepts is that Jewish tribalism is an exilic concept. Judaism as we know it was formed in the Babylonian exile. Jewish tribalism became a template of negations. It is there to alienate the Jew from his surrounding reality. Jewish tribalism is imbued with hostility toward others and otherness. Jewish-ness can be celebrated without God or the Torah, but one thing is clear, the exilic conditions always remain intact. Most importantly, the Jewish Question cannot be resolved as long as Jews fail to overcome the exilic mindset. The exilic mindset aspires to Zion. It is detached from its surroundings while in the Diaspora, and once in Zion, the exilic identity collapses completely since its raison d’etre vanishes. In other words, Jews are locked in a limbo; their identity complex cannot be resolved.”
Israel’s treatment of Palestinians is now widely compared to Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews. Gilad does not pussyfoot in explaining this: “Stupidly we interpreted the Nazi defeat as a vindication of the Jewish ideology and the Jewish people; however, Jewish ideology and Nazi ideology were very similar. In some respects Israel is far worse than Nazi Germany. Israel, for instance, regards itself as a democracy, and as such, its brutal policies are accurately reflecting the will of the people. The latest polls show that the majority of Israeli Jews support ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. 94 per cent of Israelis supported the carpet bombardment of Gaza at the time of Operation Cast Lead.
Atzmon criticises those anti-Zionists who blithely compare Israel to apartheid South Africa or other colonial regimes. “Zionism, colonialism, and apartheid are there to mislead. Israel is the product of Zionism but it isn’t driven by Zionism. Israel is not a colonial state either. It may be a settler state but it lacks a mother state. And Israel is not exactly apartheid, though it has many apartheid symptoms. Apartheid is a system of exploitation of the indigenous people. Israelis prefer to see the indigenous gone. The above terminology is there to maintain dogmatic Marxism’s relevance within the discourse. But the contemporary left discourse has basically lost any relevance within our intellectual discourse. It needs an immediate facelift.”


Gilad Atzmon’s New Book: The Wandering Who? A Study Of Jewish Identity Politics Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this Blog!

When is an ‘NGO’ not an NGO? When "Peace Treaty" not a peace treaty, "USAID" not AID?

“the annual aid package for Egypt of $1.5 billion (of which $1.3 billion goes to the military) is in jeopardy unless the case against these NGO workers is dropped and their challenged organizations are allowed to carry on with their work of promoting democracy in Egypt.” Hilary Clinton


“should aid from Washington be cut, the Brotherhood would consider changing the terms of Egypt’s 1979 peace treaty with Israel.” Essam El-Erian

When is an ‘NGO’ not an NGO? Twists and Turns Beneath the Cairo Skies
14Feb
Richard Falk

A confusing controversy between the United States and Egypt is unfolding. It has already raised tensions in the relationship between the two countries to a level that has not existed for decades. It results from moves by the military government in Cairo to go forward with the criminal prosecution of 43 foreigners, including 19 Americans, for unlawfully carrying on the work of unlicensed public interest organizations that improperly, according to Egyptian law, depend for their budget on foreign funding. Much has been made in American press coverage that one of the Americans charged happens to be Sam LaHood, son of the present American Secretary of Transportation, adopting a tone that seems to imply that at least one connected by blood to an important government official deserves immunity from prosecution.

Washington has responded with high minded and high profile expressions of consternation, including a warning from Hilary Clinton that the annual aid package for Egypt of $1.5 billion (of which $1.3 billion goes to the military) is in jeopardy unless the case against these NGO workers is dropped and their challenged organizations are allowed to carry on with their work of promoting democracy in Egypt. And indeed the U.S. Congress may yet refuse to authorize the release of these funds unless the State Department is willing to certify that Egypt is progressing toward greater democratization. President Obama has indicated his intention to continue with the aid at past levels, given the importance of Egypt in relation to American Middle Eastern interests, but as in so many other instances, he may give way if the pressure mounts. The outcome is not yet clear as an ultra-nationalistic Congress may yet thwart Obama’s seemingly more sensible response to what should have been treated as a tempest in a teapot, but for reasons to be discussed, has instead become a cause celebre.

The Americans charged are on the payroll of three organizations: International Republican Institute (IRI), Democratic National Institute (DNI), and Freedom House. The first two organizations get all of their funding from the U.S. Government, and were originally founded in 1983 after Ronald Reagan’s speech to the British Parliament in which he urged that help be given to build the democratic infrastructure of newly independent countries in the non-Western world put forward as a Cold War counter-measure to the continuing appeal of Marxist ideologies. From the moment of their founding IRI and DNI were abundantly funded by annual multi-million grants from Congress, either directly or by way of such governmental entities as the U.S. Assistance for International Development (USAID) and the National Endowment for Democracy. IRI and DNI claim to be non-partisan yet both are explicitly affiliated with each of the two political parties dominant in the United States, with boards, staffs, and consultants drawn overwhelmingly from former government workers and officials who are associated with these two American political parties. The ideological and governmental character of the two organizations is epitomized by the nature of their leadership. Madeline Albright, Secretary of State during the Clinton presidency, is chair of the DNI Board, while former Republican presidential candidate and currently a prominent senator, John McCain, holds the same position in the IRI. Freedom House, the third main organization that is the target of the Egyptian crackdown also depends for more than 80% of its funding from the National Endowment for Democracy and is similarly rooted in American party politics. It was founded in 1941 as a bipartisan initiative during the Cold War by two stalwarts of their respective political parties, Wendell Wilkie and Eleanor Roosevelt.
Mideast Egypt        Against this background the protests from Washington and the media assessments of the controversy seem willfully misleading. Since when does Washington become so agitated on behalf of NGOs under attack in a foreign country? Even mainstream eyebrows should have been raised sky high when Martin Demsey, currently the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, while visiting Cairo was reported to have interceded with his military counterparts on behalf of these Americans made subject to a travel ban and faced with the threat of prosecution. When was the last time you can recall an American military commander interceding on behalf of a genuine NGO? To paraphrase Bob Dylan, ‘the answer my friends, is never.’ So even the most naïve among us should be asking ‘what is really going on here?’

The spokespersons for the organizations treat the allegations as a simple case of interference with the activities of apolitical and benevolent NGOs innocently engaged in helping Egyptians receive needed training and guidance with respect to democratic practices, especially those relating to elections and the rule of law. Substantively such claims seem more or less true at present, at least here in Egypt. Sometimes these entities are even referred to by the media as ‘civil society institutions,’ which reflects, at best, a woeful state of unknowing, or worse, deliberate deception. Whatever one thinks of the activities of these actors, it is simply false to conceive of them as ‘nongovernmental’ or as emanations of civil society. It would be more responsive to their nature if such entities were described as ‘informal governmental organizations.’ (IGOs)

It is hardly surprising that a more honest label is avoided as its use would call attention to the problematic character of the undertakings: namely, disguised intrusions by a foreign government in the internal politics of a foreign country with fragile domestic institutions of government by way of behavior that poses at the very least a potential threat to its political independence. With such an altered interpretation of the controversy assumes a different character. It becomes quite understandable for the Egyptian government seeking to move beyond its authoritarian past to feel the need to tame these Trojan Horses outfitted by Washington. It would seem sensible and prudent for Egypt to insist that such organizations, and especially those associated with the U.S. Government, be registered and properly licensed in Egypt as a minimum precondition for receiving permission to carry on their activities in the country, especially on matters as sensitive as are elections, political parties, and the shaping of the legal system. Surely the United States, despite its long uninterrupted stable record of constitutional governance, would not even consider allowing such ‘assistance’ from abroad. If it had been proposed by, say, Sweden, an offer of help with democracy would have been immediately rebuffed, and rudely dismissed as an insult to the sovereignty of the United States despite Sweden being a geopolitical midget and U.S. being the gorilla on the global stage.

And these Washington shrieks of wounded innocence, as if Cairo had no grounds whatsoever for concern, are either the memory lapses of a senile bureaucracy or totally disingenuous. In the past it has been well documented that IRI and DNI were active in promoting the destabilization of foreign governments that were deemed to be hostile to the then American foreign policy agenda. The Reagan presidency made no secret of its commitment to lend all means of support to political movements dedicated to the overthrow of left-leaning governments in Latin America and Asia. The most notorious instances involving the use of IRI to destabilize a foreign government is well known among students of American interventionist diplomacy. For instance IRI funds were extensively distributes to anti-regime forces to get rid of the Aristide government in Haiti, part of a dynamic that did lead to a coup in 2004 that brought to power reactionary political forces that were welcomed and seemed far more congenial to Washington’s ideas of ‘good governance’ at the time. IRI was openly self-congratulatory about its role in engineering a successful effort to strengthen ‘center and center/right’ political parties in Poland several years ago, which amounts to a virtual confession of interference with the dynamics of Polish self-determination.

Although spokespersons for these organizations piously claim in their responses to these recent Egyptian moves against them to respect the sovereignty of the countries within which they operate, and especially so in Egypt. Even if these claims are generally true, ample grounds remain for suspicion and regulation, if not exclusion, on the part of a territorial government. An insistence upon proper regulation seems entirely reasonable if due account is taken of the numerous instances of covert and overt intervention by the United States in the political life of non-Western countries.

Against such a background, several conclusions follow: first, the individuals being charged by Egypt are not working for genuine NGOs or civil society institutions, but are acting on behalf of informal government organizations or IGOs; secondly, the specific organizations being targeted, especially the DNI and IRI are overtly ideological in their makeup, funding base, and orientation; and thirdly, there exist compelling grounds for a non-Western government to regulate or exclude such political actors when due account is taken of a long American record of interventionary diplomacy. Thus the Washington posture of outrage seems entirely inappropriate once the actions of the Egyptian government are contextually interpreted.

Yet the full story is not so simple or one-sided. It needs to be remembered that the Egyptian governing process in the year since the uprising that led to the collapse of the Mubarak regime has been controlled by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAP), which is widely believed by the Egyptian public to be responsible for a wave of repressive violence associated with its fears that some democratic demands are threatening their position and interests in the country. A variety of severe abuses of civilian society have been convincingly attributed to the military. As well the military is responsible for a series of harsh moves against dissenters who blog or otherwise act in a manner deemed critical of military rule. In effect, the Egyptian government, although admittedly long concerned about these spurious NGOs operating within its territory even during the period of Mubarak rule, is itself seemingly disingenuous, using the licensing and funding technicalities as a pretext for a wholesale crackdown on dissent and human rights so as to discipline and intimidate a resurgent civil society and a radical opposition movement that remains committed to realizing the democratic promise of the Arab Spring.

There is another seemingly strange part of the puzzle. Would we not expect the United States to side the Egyptian military with which it worked in close harmony during the Mubarak period. Why would Washington not welcome this apparent slide toward Mubarakism without Mubarak? Was this not America’s preferred outcome in Egypt all along, being the only outcome that would allow Washington to be confident that the new Egypt would not rock the Israeli boat or otherwise disturb American interests in the region. There is no disclosure of U.S. motives at this time for its present seemingly pro-democracy approach, but there are grounds for thinking Washington may be reacting to the success of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Nour (Salafi) Party in the Egyptian parliamentary elections and even more so to the apparent collaboration between these parties and the SCAF in planning Egypt’s immediate political future. In such a setting it seems plausible that sharpening state/society tensions in Egypt by siding with the democratic opposition would keep alive the possibility of a secular governing process less threatening to U.S./Israeli interests, as well as inducing Egypt itself to adopt a cautious approach to democratic reform. Maybe there are different explanations more hidden from view, but what seems clear is that both governmental in this kafuffle have dirty hands and are fencing in the dark at this point, that is, mounting arguments and counter-arguments that obscure rather than reveal their true motivations.

In the end, Egypt, along with other countries, is likely to be far better off if it prohibits American IGOs from operating freely within its national territorial space, especially if their supposed mandate is to promote democracy as defined and funded by Washington. This is not to say that Egyptians would not be far better off if the SCAF allowed civilian rule to emerge in the country and acted in a manner respectful of human rights and democratic values. In other words what is at stake in this seemingly trivial controversy lies hidden by the smokescreens relied upon by both sides in the dispute: weighty matters of governance and democracy that could determine whether the remarkable glories of the Arab Spring mutate in the direction of a dreary Egyptian Autumn, or even Winter.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian  
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