September 30, 2005

Israeli refuseniks act up

Yediot Ahronot carries news of Israeli teenagers, who are courting jail by refusing to do their military service, putting on a display of how one behaves in the Israeli army.
New IDF recruits on their way to the enlistment center Wednesday were surprised to encounter an anti-occupation display prepared by fellow teenagers.

The display included three handcuffed, blindfolded boys kneeling on all fours, with a youngster wearing an army uniform holding a bat and telling them: "You wish to pray? Pray. Whoever moves is going to get it from me."...

...The protesters handed out a "gift to new recruits," namely a small set of handcuffs with a note reading: "Dear recruit, you were chosen to serve in the State of Israel’s army. To mark your entry into the ‘most moral army in the world’ we are presenting you with those handcuffs. Through emergency orders in place in Israel, you have the authority to detain people without a trial. Please use this gift and humiliate anyone who dares resist the Israeli occupation."
Apparently there were several attempts to assault the demonstrators. The link here contains video film of the demo.

Also posted at Lenin's Tomb.

Blair states, without fear of contradiction........

Perhaps it should be "Blair's state and the fear of contradiction."

I just read this Simon Jenkins comment in the Guardian. It's about Blair's very real fear (and loathing) of debate but it includes a, presumably old, joke about Hitler's Nuremberg rallies.
As luck would have it, Wolfgang was a refugee from Nazi Germany. When he felt the hand of "security" on his collar, I wonder if his mind flashed back to his youth. The incident recalls a New Yorker cartoon of a Nuremburg rally. It has the Führer beginning his speech: "I think I may say without fear of contradiction?"
Simon Jenkins is a refugee from Murdoch's The Times. The Guardian has another lament, by John Harris, for the demise of Labour's internal democracy.

September 29, 2005

Thanks for the MEMRI

Here's an article about Middle Eastern translation services by Brian Whitaker in the Guardian. It was published yesterday and I'm guessing it didn't make it to the print edition but I don't know. In the article Whitaker admits to the primacy of the zionist website,
The pioneer in this field was the Middle East Media Research Institute (Memri), which has been circulating translated snippets from the Arabic press since 1998. It has become influential in the US among politicians and journalists, and was once described by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman as "absolutely invaluable".

Though Memri claims to be "independent", its founders were Yigal Carmon, a former colonel in Israeli military intelligence - who is currently its director - and Meyrav Wurmser, an ardent Zionist who helped to draft the now-famous 1996 Clean Break document proposing the overthrow of Saddam Hussein as a step towards reshaping Israel's strategic environment.

"This service does not present a balanced or complete picture of the Arab print media," Rugh said. "Its owners are pro-Israeli and anti-Arab. Quotes are selected to portray Arabs as preaching hatred against Jews and westerners, praising violence and refusing any peaceful settlement of the Palestinian issue."

Having written about Memri at length before, I don't propose to do so again here. Readers unfamiliar with the organisation and the controversy surrounding it can refer to Wikipedia, where there's a page with background information, links to the relevant articles and discussion of the pros and cons. Since I first wrote about Memri, however, several other English language sources have come along, and they are worth a look.

The rest of the article provides some useful links and you'll find links within the links so please read on..

September 28, 2005

Zionism – A Major Obstacle - by Moshe Machover

Many thanks to Moshe Machover for permitting me to post his latest article on zionism to my Jews against Zionism blog. Here's how it opens:
In this article I would like to explain why Zionism, as a political ideology, is a major obstacle to resolution of the Palestinian–Israeli conflict.

Let me stress that I am concerned here with Zionist ideology rather than with the practice of the Zionist project. That the latter is an absolute obstacle to resolution of the conflict is self-evident: it is a colonizatory project, an implantation of settlers, which has – necessarily – been implemented at the expense of the mass of indigenous people and by denial of their national rights. Indeed, the Zionist project is the root cause of the conflict.

Zionist ideology is clearly unacceptable from the perspective of the Palestinian Arab people. But here I propose to consider the case against Zionism from a somewhat less obvious perspective – that of the settler nation.
Moshe argues that there is a Hebrew nation in Palestine that zionism itself does not recognise "like a father denying the existence of his unwanted child." Now read on....

Privates on Parade

Here are a couple of links to audio-viual resources on Israel's conduct in occupied Palestine. They are from the Alternative Information Centre which describes itself thus:
The Alternative Information Center (AIC) is a joint Palestinian-Israeli organization which prioritizes political advocacy, critical analysis and information sharing on the Palestinian and Israeli societies as well as on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In the first link is to the testimonies of members of Shovrim Shtika
Shovrim Shtika (Breaking the Silence) is a group of young Israelis recently discharged from the IDF. The group defined as its mission the uncovering of the reality of the occupation through making public the testimonies and personal experiences of soldiers whom served in the OPT.
The second consists mostly of clips from the point of view of the victims.

September 27, 2005

Israel for the Security Council?

According to the Jerusalem Post, Israel has formally applied for membership of the UN Security Council.
Israel belongs to WEOG (Western Europe and Others Group), but does not have a seat in the Security Council.
Why should membership of the western bloc entitle them to a seat on the Security Council?

September 26, 2005

Ethnic cleansing in the Negev

According to today's Ha'aretz, Israel has ordered the demolition of hundreds of Bedouin "illegal" homes to be replaced by farms, presumably for Jews.
Residents say that since Israel's disengagement from Gaza, government orders to demolish illegal houses in the Bedouin sector have swelled. In honor of Monday's demonstration, Bedouin residents also called a strike at 16 Negev schools in the unrecognized villages.
When he first suggested the disengagement plan, Ariel Sharon said that "this should be seen as a punishment and not a reward for the Palestinians". It looks like a punishment for the Bedouin too, and what was their offence? The same as the Palestinians: being natives in a colonial settler state.

Also posted to Lenin's Tomb

King Abdullah I on zionism - 1947

This is a remarkable article by the late King Abdullah of Jordan who was assassinated by a Palestinian back in 1948. Written in 1947, the most striking thing is Abdullah's understanding of American support for the zionists that seems to have been as strong in the American media in 1947 as it is today. Here it is:
As the Arabs See the Jews (1947)
By: King Abdullah of Jordan

I am especially delighted to address an American audience, for the tragic problem of Palestine will never be solved without American understanding, American sympathy, American support.

So many billions of words have been written about Palestine—perhaps more than on any other subject in history—that I hesitate to add to them. Yet I am compelled to do so, for I am reluctantly convinced that the world in general, and America in particular, knows almost nothing of the true case for the Arabs.

We Arabs follow, perhaps far more than you think, the press of America. We are frankly disturbed to find that for every word printed on the Arab side, a thousand are printed on the Zionist side.

There are many reasons for this. You have many millions of Jewish citizens interested in this question. They are highly vocal and wise in the ways of publicity. There are few Arab citizens in America, and we are as yet unskilled in the technique of modern propaganda.

The results have been alarming for us. In your press we see a horrible caricature and are told it is our true portrait. In all justice, we cannot let this pass by default.
Our case is quite simple: For nearly 2,000 years Palestine has been almost 100 per cent Arab. It is still preponderantly Arab today, in spite of enormous Jewish immigration. But if this immigration continues we shall soon be outnumbered—a minority in our home.

Palestine is a small and very poor country, about the size of your state of Vermont. Its Arab population is only about 1,200,000. Already we have had forced on us, against our will, some 600,000 Zionist Jews. We are threatened with many hundreds of thousands more.

Our position is so simple and natural that we are amazed it should even be questioned. It is exactly the same position you in America take in regard to the unhappy European Jews. You are sorry for them, but you do not want them in your country.

We do not want them in ours, either. Not because they are Jews, but because they are foreigners. We would not want hundreds of thousands of foreigners in our country, be they Englishmen or Norwegians or Brazilians or whatever.

Think for a moment: In the last 25 years we have had one third of our entire population forced upon us. In America that would be the equivalent of 45,000,000 complete strangers admitted to your country, over your violent protest, since 1921. How would you have reacted to that?

Because of our perfectly natural dislike of being overwhelmed in our own homeland, we are called blind nationalists and heartless anti-Semites. This charge would be ludicrous were it not so dangerous.

No people on earth have been less "anti-Semitic" than the Arabs. The persecution of the Jews has been confined almost entirely to the Christian nations of the West. Jews, themselves, will admit that never since the Great Dispersion did Jews develop so freely and reach such importance as in Spain when it was an Arab possession. With very minor exceptions, Jews have lived for many centuries in the Middle East, in complete peace and friendliness with their Arab neighbours.

Damascus, Baghdad, Beirut and other Arab centres have always contained large and prosperous Jewish colonies. Until the Zionist invasion of Palestine began, these Jews received the most generous treatment—far, far better than in Christian Europe. Now, unhappily, for the first time in history, these Jews are beginning to feel the effects of Arab resistance to the Zionist assault. Most of them are as anxious as Arabs to stop it. Most of these Jews who have found happy homes among us resent, as we do, the coming of these strangers.

I was puzzled for a long time about the odd belief which apparently persists in America that Palestine has somehow "always been a Jewish land." Recently an American I talked to cleared up this mystery. He pointed out that the only things most Americans know about Palestine are what they read in the Bible. It was a Jewish land in those days, they reason, and they assume it has always remained so.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. It is absurd to reach so far back into the mists of history to argue about who should have Palestine today, and I apologise for it. Yet the Jews do this, and I must reply to their "historic claim." I wonder if the world has ever seen a stranger sight than a group of people seriously pretending to claim a land because their ancestors lived there some 2,000 years ago!

If you suggest that I am biased, I invite you to read any sound history of the period and verify the facts.

Such fragmentary records as we have indicate that the Jews were wandering nomads from Iraq who moved to southern Turkey, came south to Palestine, stayed there a short time, and then passed to Egypt, where they remained about 400 years. About 1300 BC (according to your calendar) they left Egypt and gradually conquered most—but not all—of the inhabitants of Palestine.

It is significant that the Philistines—not the Jews—gave their name to the country: "Palestine" is merely the Greek form of "Philistia."

Only once, during the empire of David and Solomon, did the Jews ever control nearly—but not all—the land which is today Palestine. This empire lasted only 70 years, ending in 926 BC. Only 250 years later the Kingdom of Judah had shrunk to a small province around Jerusalem, barely a quarter of modern Palestine.

In 63 BC the Jews were conquered by Roman Pompey, and never again had even the vestige of independence. The Roman Emperor Hadrian finally wiped them out about 135 AD. He utterly destroyed Jerusalem, rebuilt under another name, and for hundreds of years no Jew was permitted to enter it. A handful of Jews remained in Palestine but the vast majority were killed or scattered to other countries, in the Diaspora, or the Great Dispersion. From that time Palestine ceased to be a Jewish country, in any conceivable sense.

This was 1,815 years ago, and yet the Jews solemnly pretend they still own Palestine! If such fantasy were allowed, how the map of the world would dance about!
Italians might claim England, which the Romans held so long. England might claim France, "homeland" of the conquering Normans. And the French Normans might claim Norway, where their ancestors originated. And incidentally, we Arabs might claim Spain, which we held for 700 years.

Many Mexicans might claim Spain, "homeland" of their forefathers. They might even claim Texas, which was Mexican until 100 years ago. And suppose the American Indians claimed the "homeland" of which they were the sole, native, and ancient occupants until only some 450 years ago!

I am not being facetious. All these claims are just as valid—or just as fantastic—as the Jewish "historic connection" with Palestine. Most are more valid.
In any event, the great Moslem expansion about 650 AD finally settled things. It dominated Palestine completely. From that day on, Palestine was solidly Arabic in population, language, and religion. When British armies entered the country during the last war, they found 500,000 Arabs and only 65,000 Jews.

If solid, uninterrupted Arab occupation for nearly 1,300 years does not make a country "Arab", what does?

The Jews say, and rightly, that Palestine is the home of their religion. It is likewise the birthplace of Christianity, but would any Christian nation claim it on that account? In passing, let me say that the Christian Arabs—and there are many hundreds of thousands of them in the Arab World—are in absolute agreement with all other Arabs in opposing the Zionist invasion of Palestine.

May I also point out that Jerusalem is, after Mecca and Medina, the holiest place in Islam. In fact, in the early days of our religion, Moslems prayed toward Jerusalem instead of Mecca.

The Jewish "religious claim" to Palestine is as absurd as the "historic claim." The Holy Places, sacred to three great religions, must be open to all, the monopoly of none. Let us not confuse religion and politics.

We are told that we are inhumane and heartless because do not accept with open arms the perhaps 200,000 Jews in Europe who suffered so frightfully under Nazi cruelty, and who even now—almost three years after war’s end—still languish in cold, depressing camps.

Let me underline several facts. The unimaginable persecution of the Jews was not done by the Arabs: it was done by a Christian nation in the West. The war which ruined Europe and made it almost impossible for these Jews to rehabilitate themselves was fought by the Christian nations of the West. The rich and empty portions of the earth belong, not to the Arabs, but to the Christian nations of the West.

And yet, to ease their consciences, these Christian nations of the West are asking Palestine—a poor and tiny Moslem country of the East—to accept the entire burden. "We have hurt these people terribly," cries the West to the East. "Won’t you please take care of them for us?"

We find neither logic nor justice in this. Are we therefore "cruel and heartless nationalists"?

We are a generous people: we are proud that "Arab hospitality" is a phrase famous throughout the world. We are a humane people: no one was shocked more than we by the Hitlerite terror. No one pities the present plight of the desperate European Jews more than we.

But we say that Palestine has already sheltered 600,000 refugees. We believe that is enough to expect of us—even too much. We believe it is now the turn of the rest of the world to accept some of them.

I will be entirely frank with you. There is one thing the Arab world simply cannot understand. Of all the nations of the earth, America is most insistent that something be done for these suffering Jews of Europe. This feeling does credit to the humanity for which America is famous, and to that glorious inscription on your Statue of Liberty.

And yet this same America—the richest, greatest, most powerful nation the world has ever known—refuses to accept more than a token handful of these same Jews herself!
I hope you will not think I am being bitter about this. I have tried hard to understand that mysterious paradox, and I confess I cannot. Nor can any other Arab.
Perhaps you have been informed that "the Jews in Europe want to go to no other place except Palestine."

This myth is one of the greatest propaganda triumphs of the Jewish Agency for Palestine, the organisation which promotes with fanatic zeal the emigration to Palestine. It is a subtle half-truth, thus doubly dangerous.

The astounding truth is that nobody on earth really knows where these unfortunate Jews really want to go!

You would think that in so grave a problem, the American, British, and other authorities responsible for the European Jews would have made a very careful survey, probably by vote, to find out where each Jew actually wants to go. Amazingly enough this has never been done! The Jewish Agency has prevented it.

Some time ago the American Military Governor in Germany was asked at a press conference how he was so certain that all Jews there wanted to go to Palestine. His answer was simple: "My Jewish advisors tell me so." He admitted no poll had ever been made. Preparations were indeed begun for one, but the Jewish Agency stepped in to stop it.

The truth is that the Jews in German camps are now subjected to a Zionist pressure campaign which learned much from the Nazi terror. It is dangerous for a Jew to say that he would rather go to some other country, not Palestine. Such dissenters have been severely beaten, and worse.

Not long ago, in Palestine, nearly 1,000 Austrian Jews informed the international refugee organisation that they would like to go back to Austria, and plans were made to repatriate them.

The Jewish Agency heard of this, and exerted enough political pressure to stop it. It would be bad propaganda for Zionism if Jews began leaving Palestine. The nearly 1,000 Austrian are still there, against their will.

The fact is that most of the European Jews are Western in culture and outlook, entirely urban in experience and habits. They cannot really have their hearts set on becoming pioneers in the barren, arid, cramped land which is Palestine.

One thing, however, is undoubtedly true. As matters stand now, most refugee Jews in Europe would, indeed, vote for Palestine, simply because they know no other country will have them.

If you or I were given a choice between a near-prison camp for the rest of our lives—or Palestine—we would both choose Palestine, too.

But open up any other alternative to them—give them any other choice, and see what happens!

No poll, however, will be worth anything unless the nations of the earth are willing to open their doors—just a little—to the Jews. In other words, if in such a poll a Jew says he wants to go to Sweden, Sweden must be willing to accept him. If he votes for America, you must let him come in.

Any other kind of poll would be a farce. For the desperate Jew, this is no idle testing of opinion: this is a grave matter of life or death. Unless he is absolutely sure that his vote means something, he will always vote for Palestine, so as not to risk his bird in the hand for one in the bush.

In any event, Palestine can accept no more. The 65,000 Jews in Palestine in 1918 have jumped to 600,000 today. We Arabs have increased, too, but not by immigration. The Jews were then a mere 11 per cent of our population. Today they are one third of it.
The rate of increase has been terrifying. In a few more years—unless stopped now—it will overwhelm us, and we shall be an important minority in our own home.

Surely the rest of the wide world is rich enough and generous enough to find a place for 200,000 Jews—about one third the number that tiny, poor Palestine has already sheltered. For the rest of the world, it is hardly a drop in the bucket. For us it means national suicide.

We are sometimes told that since the Jews came to Palestine, the Arab standard of living has improved. This is a most complicated question. But let us even assume, for the argument, that it is true. We would rather be a bit poorer, and masters of our own home. Is this unnatural?

The sorry story of the so-called "Balfour Declaration," which started Zionist immigration into Palestine, is too complicated to repeat here in detail. It is grounded in broken promises to the Arabs—promises made in cold print which admit no denying.

We utterly deny its validity. We utterly deny the right of Great Britain to give away Arab land for a "national home" for an entirely foreign people.

Even the League of Nations sanction does not alter this. At the time, not a single Arab state was a member of the League. We were not allowed to say a word in our own defense.

I must point out, again in friendly frankness, that America was nearly as responsible as Britain for this Balfour Declaration. President Wilson approved it before it was issued, and the American Congress adopted it word for word in a joint resolution on 30th June, 1922.

In the 1920s, Arabs were annoyed and insulted by Zionist immigration, but not alarmed by it. It was steady, but fairly small, as even the Zionist founders thought it would remain. Indeed for some years, more Jews left Palestine than entered it—in 1927 almost twice as many.

But two new factors, entirely unforeseen by Britain or the League or America or the most fervent Zionist, arose in the early thirties to raise the immigration to undreamed heights. One was the World Depression; the second the rise of Hitler.
In 1932, the year before Hitler came to power, only 9,500 Jews came to Palestine. We did not welcome them, but we were not afraid that, at that rate, our solid Arab majority would ever be in danger.

But the next year—the year of Hitler—it jumped to 30,000! In 1934 it was 42,000! In 1935 it reached 61,000!

It was no longer the orderly arrival of idealist Zionists. Rather, all Europe was pouring its frightened Jews upon us. Then, at last, we, too, became frightened. We knew that unless this enormous influx stopped, we were, as Arabs, doomed in our Palestine homeland. And we have not changed our minds.

I have the impression that many Americans believe the trouble in Palestine is very remote from them, that America had little to do with it, and that your only interest now is that of a humane bystander.

I believe that you do not realise how directly you are, as a nation, responsible in general for the whole Zionist move and specifically for the present terrorism. I call this to your attention because I am certain that if you realise your responsibility you will act fairly to admit it and assume it.

Quite aside from official American support for the "National Home" of the Balfour Declaration, the Zionist settlements in Palestine would have been almost impossible, on anything like the current scale, without American money. This was contributed by American Jewry in an idealistic effort to help their fellows.

The motive was worthy: the result were disastrous. The contributions were by private individuals, but they were almost entirely Americans, and, as a nation, only America can answer for it.

The present catastrophe may be laid almost entirely at your door. Your government, almost alone in the world, is insisting on the immediate admission of 100,000 more Jews into Palestine—to be followed by countless additional ones. This will have the most frightful consequences in bloody chaos beyond anything ever hinted at in Palestine before.

It is your press and political leadership, almost alone in the world, who press this demand. It is almost entirely American money which hires or buys the "refugee ships" that steam illegally toward Palestine: American money which pays their crews. The illegal immigration from Europe is arranged by the Jewish Agency, supported almost entirely by American funds. It is American dollars which support the terrorists, which buy the bullets and pistols that kill British soldiers—your allies—and Arab citizens—your friends.

We in the Arab world were stunned to hear that you permit open advertisements in newspapers asking for money to finance these terrorists, to arm them openly and deliberately for murder. We could not believe this could really happen in the modern world. Now we must believe it: we have seen the advertisements with our own eyes.
I point out these things because nothing less than complete frankness will be of use. The crisis is too stark for mere polite vagueness which means nothing.

I have the most complete confidence in the fair-mindedness and generosity of the American public. We Arabs ask no favours. We ask only that you know the full truth, not half of it. We ask only that when you judge the Palestine question, you put yourselves in our place.

What would your answer be if some outside agency told you that you must accept in America many millions of utter strangers in your midst—enough to dominate your country—merely because they insisted on going to America, and because their forefathers had once lived there some 2,000 years ago? Our answer is the same.

And what would be your action if, in spite of your refusal, this outside agency began forcing them on you? Ours will be the same.
From The American Magazine, November 1947, Forwarded by the JPLO List, September 8, 2005

September 25, 2005

Hear Galloway in San Francisco

You can listen to George Galloway's speech here. He starts a bit slowly and a little self-indulgently but hang in there for the Palestinians. It's well worth it.

I've just got this from Warszawa in a comment on Lenin's Tomb.

Jews cannnot be terrorists part II

In August just gone, the Israeli authorities ruled that civilian victims of armed political violence by a Jewish perpetrator could not be compensated under the state's rules for compensating victims of terrorism because terrorism was only committed by the enemies of Israel. Now a US court (or prosecution service) has come up with a similar notion. A leader of the Judeo-Nazi group, the Jewish Defence League has been convicted of a bomb plot against a Los Angeles mosque and an Arab-American senator but he was not convicted of a terrorist offence but a hate crime. Earl Krugel received two consecutive ten year sentences, one for each offence. According to the Herald Sun
Salam Al-Marayati, executive director of the Los Angeles-based Muslim Public Affairs Council, urged the judge to punish former dental assistant Krugel with the maximum sentence for his crimes.

"Mr Krugel should be treated like any terrorist, even though there is no mention of this term in the charges against him," he told the judge.

"To this day, we are living under the shadow of terror as a result of Mr Krugel's actions," Mr Al-Marayati said.
Curious that there are no news reports when you search the name "Earl Krugel". There is, however, a website run in his name. Whilst searching I noticed that the old JDL site - - has been suspended so maybe that was their last gasp.

Thanks to Montag.

Washington anti-war demo: Police and organisers agree on the turnout

This never happens in the UK. The police always understate the turnout in demonstrations. In the march that even the media here say attracted one to two million the police at first said it was 10,000 then they revised it to 40,000. Anyway, from
Washington D-C's police chief says he thinks anti-war protesters have probably hit their turnout goal of 100-thousand people.
There were also marches involving thousands of people in cities around America.

September 24, 2005

The Minyan Man March?

I found myself with a Jewish contingent, largely but not entirely from the Jewish Socialist Group, on the anti-war demo today. We thought we may have had a minyan, which is the minimum required for certain Jewish religious purposes. Then we realised there were two women among us and women don't count in a minyan. Luckily there were several tens of thousands of other people about so all was not lost.

I googled "demonstration" and all the news was from America until I got to the bottom of the page and Socialist Worker was the only site with coverage of the demo in the UK. That may well change by tomorrow. There is a report in the Guardian but it didn't appear in Google news.

In loving MEMRI

Ok, last post from the Jewish Chronicle for a while. Alex Brummer in his "In the media" column, puts up a spirited defence of MEMRI, the hard right zionist Middle East Media Resource Institute. He accuses George Galloway of shouting down an "innocent participant" in Radio 4's Any Questions because she referred people to I just happened to hear that programme and, like Alex Brummer, I can't remember the name of the law professor who recommended MEMRI. I do remember George Galloway saying, quite calmly, "it's an Israeli site". A grave injustice to those many Israeli sites that expose Israel's war crimes against the Palestinians but hardly shouting, ranting, or vicious as Brummer on this and previous occasions has said.

MEMRI is, at best, highly selective in its quotations. Some have said that its translations are suspect but that misses the point that MEMRI is a zionist site that propagates the view that you can know the Arab and Muslim worlds by their media.

A cash cow to replace the holocaust industry?

Ha'aretz reports that the American Holocaust Industry is going after one last group of countries for holocaust "restitution." This is where a group of American hucksters go after a country using all the clout of the American state and of individual American states, threaten to tie a state or institution down in years of litigation and stains on its reputation, grossly inflate whatever could have been lost in the first place, and then inflate the number of holocaust survivors so as to inflate any compensation figure. Now the target is eastern Europe. The impact of this on the countries concerned could be quite harmful but the impact on the precious few Jews remaining in these countries could be devastating. But what does the Holocaust Industry care? Of course, Professor Norman Finkelstein puts all of this much better than I could.

Anyway, when the last few dominoes have fallen, what next? You'll recall recently hearing about the "ethnic cleansing" of Jews from Arab countries, yes? It's taken the zionists a while to cobble together this myth. It wouldn't have worked if too many survivors were alive because the movement of Jews from Arab states to Israel and elsewhere is a by no means straightforward story. So now not many people are around to blow the whistle on zionist involvement in the movement of Arab Jews to Israel a new industry is born. So when the zionists have squeezed the holocuast (including its victims) for all that they can, they will turn on the Arab states. I wonder which one will be first. The clearest case of the zionists themselves using terrorism to have Jews flee to Israel was in Iraq in the early 1950s. I'm betting they'll turn to Iraq first. Iraq also has the attraction, for the time being, of having a government dependent on US goodwill. But of course, this could simply be a gambit to get Palestinians to drop their legitimate claims against Israel.

Explosive find at arms fair

You'd expect explosive finds at arms fairs but this one is more figurative than literal. An Israeli stand was closed down at the Docklands "Defence Systems Equipment International Show" because the company sold torture instruments. The company admitted that it does indeed sell leg irons, clubs and electric shock equipment but their spokesman said that, whilst the gear appears in their brochure, none was on display at the show. Priceless! But wait, it gets better. According to the JC, the company, Tar Ideal, is considering legal action against the organisers. A quick google search on Tar Ideal shows that they already have quite a reputation.

Lib Dems' Alan Beith wins the presidency

The presidency of the Lib Dems Friends of Israel that is. He praised Israel to the JC claiming that its achievements were "remarkable. Israel has made deserts bloom." Which ones? He didn't say, but then the JC didn't ask. He also said that Israel had founded "genuine democracy." I hope the Lib Dems don't try to establish such a democracy here in the UK.

Sorry I keep linking to the JC. I should point out that it's subscription only.

September 23, 2005

Anglicans keep their Caterpillar shares

Still from the JC, the Church of England has ruled out divesting itself of its shares in Caterpillar, the company that makes customised bulldozers for Israel's war criminal policy of house demolitions. The same article discusses the issue of sanctions across the board against Israel by Anglicans worldwide, though this too is ruled out. These two issues are very different and whilst I can understand the Church finding a way around a general boycott of Israel I don't see how it can justify investing in the armaments of ethnic cleasing. That Rowan Williams guy is a worry.

For anyone wishing to contact the C of E over this, here is their contact us page.

More on Straw's apology to Israel

Totally Jewish reports on Jack Straw's apology to Israel but includes in its report the fact that Straw said that he could not rule out the arrest of Ariel Sharon if he was to visit the UK. I didn't know that Tony Blair had actually invited Sharon to the UK but
In response to the incident, Sharon snubbed an invitation by Tony Blair to visit Britain, reportedly telling the Prime Minister, "I would really like to visit Britain. The trouble is that I, like General Almog, also served in the IDF for many years."
Now, according to the JC, the foreign office has pledged a review of its procedures. In an earlier poost I suggested that people write to Jack Straw. In sufficient numbers that might demonstrate the strength of feeling over this but letters by ordinary folk to ministers are often left unread, or, at least, unanswered. However a chap I know tells me that:
Convention says that letters to MPs with requests for responses from Ministers have to be replied to by the Minister! Most email addresses can be obtained by:

Name: Damien Green

Email address:
So give it a whirl.

Update - 26/9/2005 - Or try this. Thanks to Dahud.


Inquiry urges Students' Union to support zionism

Well that's the impression you might gain from this week's Jewish Chronicle frontpage report on an "independent inquiry into alleged failures by the National Union of Students to tackle anti-Semitism [that] has recommended a raft of measures to improve relations with Jewish students." From the article you wouldn't know that the inquiry concludes:
Having looked at the background to the incidents there were clearly occasions when matters could have been dealt with more quickly, or more efficiently, but do not demonstrate apathy to anti-semitism.
That was reported in the Guardian, not the JC. Both the Guardian and the JC agree that the inquiry was commissioned by the NUS after the resignations of some Union of Jewish Students activists but only the Guardian reported the inquiry's criticism of one of the activists, Luciana Berger,
the report is also critical of Ms Berger, who attended a meeting with the head of the School of Oriental and African Studies following complaints from Jewish students that the union was tolerating anti-semitism. Ms Berger should not have attended the meeting, which was implicitly critical of the union, when she was a national executive member, it says. Protocol dictates she should have sought to support the union in tackling the problem first.
In fact the JC report seems to portray SOAS as the villain of the piece.

The JC includes in the "raft of measures" recommended by the inquiry, the adoption of the "EU Monitoring Committee definition of anti-semitism, which includes demonisation of Israel," whatever that means. I suppose we can look forward to endless wrangles about what constitutes "demonisation".

Curiously the Totally Jewish website reports the inquiry under the heading "Report clears students union." Again, you wouldn't think so from reading just the JC report.

September 22, 2005

Jack Straw apologises for "discomfiture" of Israel's war crimes suspects

The BBC reports that, in an act of breathtaking sycophancy, Jack Straw has apologised to Israel for any embarrassment caused over the issue of a warrant for the arrest of General Doron Almog.
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has apologised to his Israeli counterpart over the attempted arrest of a general accused of war crimes.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign in the UK has written to the Foreign Secretary:
Dear Mr Straw,

I am writing to express our total shock that, according to Israeli commentators, you have apologized to Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom for 'the discomfort caused to General (res.) Doron Almog,' against whom an arrest warrant was issued in the UK over alleged war crimes committed in Gaza. It is also reported that Prime Minister Tony Blair discussed an investigation of the circumstances of the issuing of the warrant with Ariel Sharon in New York and Israelis are expecting changes to the British system to prevent such warrants being issued.

It is already a matter of grave concern that Major General Almog was able to evade prosecution and return to Israel because of leaked information. These reports suggest collusion at the highest levels.

Amnesty International have "deplored the failure of the United Kingdom (UK) authorities to arrest Israeli army General Doron Almog when he arrived at London's Heathrow airport, describing this as a clear violation of the UK's obligations under both national and international law."

Interference by government with the judicial and legal process is to be abhorred in all cases. But since the UK presents itself as an upholder of international law, any attempt to thwart those bringing cases in support of Palestinian rights would suggest selectivity and encourage the perception of the government as hypocritical.

Yours sincerely,

Betty Hunter
General Secretary
Of course there's nothing to stop others writing to him:
The Rt. Hon. Jack Straw
Sec.of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs,
King Charles Street,
London SW1A 2AH
Rt.Hon = Right Honourable. Honestly, the things they say.

Hari wobbles on the war

Johann Hari, a British journalist, who likes to refer to himself as "pro-war left", is having a wobble over his support for the war on Iraq. I don't think it's his first but it's the first one I've noticed. I don't read his stuff as a rule because he's silly and self-indulgent. This article shows both traits in more or less equal measure. Anyway he starts roughly here
For anybody who supported the war, the images of British forces fighting against the Iraqi police in Basra - two and a half years after the war was supposed to be over - forces difficult questions like needles: is Iraq today 100,000 deaths better off than under Saddam Hussein? Is the choice now between cut-and-run, or stay and cut-cut-cut into Iraqi flesh with a monthly Fallujah or Tal Afar?
Good question. Now for some self-indulgence
When the invasion ended, [when was that?] and opinion polls - using the same techniques that successfully predict elections across the world - found that most Iraqis had preferred the invasion, I felt, pretty smugly, that I had been right.
Followed quickly by some, actually much, silliness.
Much of the left had lined up with Robin Cook, a man who said continuing with the sanctions that killed half a million Iraqi children was "the best option". Or, worse, they were cheering George Galloway, who is now busy saluting another Baathist dictator in Syria and telling the people how "lucky" they are to live under his tyranny. But I had lined up with the majority of Iraqi people.
Ok he uses the expression "much of the left" but there's a clear insinuation here that the left consists of Cookists and Gallowayists (for the latter read Baathists). No room for a principled anti-war or leftist position here. The anti-war left, and really there is no other left, for Hari, subdivides into people who supported the sanctions that killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis or they supported Baathism which killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqis. Most of the people who opposed the war did not want the sanctions and didn't want Saddam. They (I should say we) reasoned that since the WMD stories were complete tosh there was no defensive reason for the invasion. The getting rid of a leader because his compatriots didn't like him argument would tie us into wars against most states; literally most of the states in the world. No one who supported the war could possibly have believed that America was in it for anything other than an economic or strategic reward. In a word, the reason (whatever the reason) was imperialism. So even if most Iraqis, in their abject misery, believed somehow that Iraq would benefit from an invasion there was no way that anyone could have believed that America (and the UK) was going in for altruistic reasons. If America was there for, say, oil, then its interests were bound to clash with even those Iraqis who did want an invasion.

I have to say here that I think Hari's poll findings are suspect. I can't believe that with all that the people of the Middle East know of America and Britain's involvement in Middle Eastern affairs they actually thought that an Anglo-American invasion would benefit them but I honestly don't know. But it's still no excuse for "our" ignorance. We know the history of western meddling in the Middle East. We should have known, we did know, better. Hari knew and others on the pro-war so-called left knew. Still I'd like to see a few more like Hari come out and just toy with the idea that they were wrong. Better still would be when one of them has the gumption to admit that they knew they were being wrong while they were being wrong.

Blair's self-fulfilling prophecy

Here's a strange thing from the Guardian. I read this rather worrying report about a guy who was arrested, DNA tested, held and searched for "suspicious behaviour." Well, down the left hand side of the article, under the heading "In this section" was a link to a report titled "Blair's vision is critically tainted." I hate reports like that. You know, the ones that question his judgment or his "belief" or his, er, vision. But I still read them and I read this one. Here's a chunk:
The alliance between Arab nationalism and Islamist terrorism Washington and London posited as a reason for invading is in danger of becoming a reality after the fact. Instead of the democratic exemplar we were promised, Iraq looks set to be a source of regional instability for years to come. There is no meaningful sense in which this can be claimed as a victory in the war on terror. The prime minister urges us to see it as an issue of judgment rather than trust. Either way, he has been found wanting.
The curious thing is that the article appeared on 8th March 2004. So why is it in today's section. Is the Guardian really running out of current stuff to condemn the PM over? Or are his lies and errors all so similar that the Guardianistas can't tell them apart?

September 21, 2005

Israel: never a loan?

Thanks to Gorilla in the Room for this reminder of how America breaks its own laws to give aid to Israel.
friends of Israel never tire of saying that Israel has never defaulted on repayment of a U.S. government loan. It would be equally accurate to say Israel has never been required to repay a U.S. government loan. The truth of the matter is complex, and designed to be so by those who seek to conceal it from the U.S. taxpayer.

Most U.S. loans to Israel are forgiven, and many were made with the explicit understanding that they would be forgiven before Israel was required to repay them. By disguising as loans what in fact were grants, cooperating members of Congress exempted Israel from the U.S. oversight that would have accompanied grants. On other loans, Israel was expected to pay the interest and eventually to begin repaying the principal. But the so-called Cranston Amendment, which has been attached by Congress to every foreign aid appropriation since 1983, provides that economic aid to Israel will never dip below the amount Israel is required to pay on its outstanding loans. In short, whether U.S. aid is extended as grants or loans to Israel, it never returns to the Treasury.
The article is from 1997 and America has given more year on year support to Israel since then. No wonder Israel could be so generous over Katrina.

The gay Paris of Iran?

This is terrible. I just picked this up from Lenin's Tomb who in turn picked it up from Direland. It's an extremely harrowing tale of the crackdown on gays - and one in particular - in Iran.
Amir is from Shiraz, a city of more than a million people in southwestern Iran that the Shah tried to make “the Paris of Iran” in the 1960s and 1970s, attracting a not insignificant gay population and making Shiraz a favorite vacation spot for Iranian gays -- but after the 1979 revolution led by Ayatollah Khomeini, Shiraz was targeted as a symbol of taaghoot (decadence). Amir’s father was killed by a gas attack in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1987, becoming -- in the Islamic Republic’s official parlance -- a “martyr,” whose surviving family thus had the right to special benefits and treatment from the state.

Amir, who grew up with his mother, an older brother and two sisters, says “I’ve known I was gay since I was about 5 or 6 -- I always preferred to play with girls. I had my first sexual experience with a man when I was 13. But nobody in my family knew I was gay.” Amir’s first arrest for being gay occurred two years ago. “I was at a private gay party, about 25 young people there, all of us close friends. One of the kids, Ahmed Reza -- whose father was a colonel in the intelligence services, and who was known to the police to be gay -- snitched on us, and alerted the authorities this private party was going to happen. Ahmed waited until everyone was there, then called the Office for Promotion of Virtue and Prohibition of Vice, headed in Shiraz by Colonel Safaniya, who a few minutes later raided the party. The door opened, and the cops swarmed in, insulting us -- screaming ‘who’s the bottom? Who’s the top?’ and beating us, led by Colonel Javanmardi. When someone tried to stop them beating up the host of the party, they were hit with pepper spray. One of our party was a trans-sexual -- the cops slapped her face so hard they busted her eardrum and she wound up in hospital. Ahmed Reza, the gay snitch, was identifying everyone as the cops beat us up.
The pictures at Direland depicitng the wounds of physical torture are extremely unpleasant so be warned.

Nazi hunter lost in translation

Here's another example of the Hebrew version of Ha'aretz containing more than the English translation:

The Jerusalem office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center is headed by Dr. Efraim Zuroff. In his "hunting trips" against the few Nazi war criminals who are still alive, he can be seen as Wiesenthal's true successor.

The center itself, however, has long since become an international brand, and [its founder Rabbi Marvin] Hier has become a celebrity who likes rubbing shoulders with royalty and international leaders. As a result, Hier has also become a serious fund-raiser leading to five more branches of the center, and a forthcoming Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem. [Yuk]
The Hebrew, however, continues:
to the displeasure of Yad Vashem Museum.

Only years after the establishment of the center in Los Angeles Wiesenthal understood that Rabbi Hier and his assistants had turned his name into a money producing plant. Hier gave in [to an obvious pressure from S. Wiesenthal who demanded his part of the spoils – se] and since then till his death the glorified Nazi hunter got a pension from the institute bearing his name.
Regulars here and Hebrew readers will know that this is not a first for Ha'aretz.

Links for, well actually against, Zionism

Here are some links about zionism, often produced by Jews or Israelis but not necessarily:
Jews not zionists

Antony Loewenstein

Jewdas - radical voices for the alternative diaspora

Independent Middle East Media Center

Rafah Pundits

Kibush - anti-occupation resources

Cactus 48

Anti-Zionist notes


Jews against zionism

By the grace of god

Neturei Karta - USA
If you have problems with the links let me know.


Selective MEMRI # 94

Here's the zionist website promoting the idea that all Palestinians hate Jews simply for being Jewish. The film shows a religious guy railing against the Jews for having brought down many a world power. In the film, you see the guy speaking. Then you see a thoroughly (though not surprisingly) bored looking congregation as he speaks of France and Russia having once ruled the world! You never see the preacher and the crowd at the same time. The preacher (if he exists) needs to get out more. But look at the congregation; they're so bored they need to get out now.

A quick look at the MEMRI site shows that it holds conspiracy theories to be a singularly Arab/Muslim propensity.
Following practically all international events of importance, conspiracy theories are raised in the Arab and Muslim worlds.

Thanks to Shraga Elam

Wiesenthal obituaries

It's all so complex. Here are a couple of obituaries on the passing of Simon Wiesenthal. Neither are straight forward praise but then obituaries rarely are these says. The Guardian has Wiesenthal falling out with former Austrian Chancellor, the late Bruno Kreisky and his support for Kurt Waldheim.
there were also prominent Jews who labelled him a charlatan, claiming he was intellectually dishonest and insisting he was primarily motivated by self-aggrandisement. In 1975, he clashed famously with Austria's Chancellor Bruno Kreisky over the inclusion of former Nazis in the Austrian cabinet. Kreisky claimed that Wiesenthal was trying to destroy him politically, and went so far as to allege that he had been a Gestapo collaborator. Wiesenthal only stopped his legal action after Kreisky withdrew at least part of his allegations.
And his famous spat with Elie Wiesel over the pecking order of holocaust suffering.
They first crossed swords over Wiesenthal's contention that Jews must be as much concerned for the non-Jewish victims of the Holocaust as for their own race.
While the Independent has legendary Mossad boss, Isser Harel writing
an unpublished manuscript which claimed that Wiesenthal not only "had no role whatsoever" in Eichmann's apprehension, but in fact "had endangered the entire Eichmann operation and aborted the planned capture of the evil Auschwitz doctor Josef Mengele". Harel claimed that he wrote the manuscript out of frustration at the amount of credit Wiesenthal was claiming for the capture of Eichmann and declined to publish it only because that might give succour to anti-semites.
Go here for the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's own biogrpahy of the man.

September 20, 2005


I just told someone on Islam Channel TV that there were lots of links to anti-zionists sites on this blog. Well there are but they're not very prominent and some are out of date so if you're name's Hussein and you came here via google after being advised to do so on Islam Channel TV I'll sort out the links tomorrow. Meanwhile scroll down the right of the page and check out the links there.


Simon Wiesenthal dies aged 96

Famed nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal has died in Vienna aged 96. The BBC credits him with bringing over 1,000 nazi war criminals to justice. Both the Beeb and the Guardian quote him as having said that
When history looks back, I want people to know the Nazis weren't able to kill millions of people and get away with it.
What I heard on Radio 4 this morning was significantly different. Wiesenthal made a clear reference to war criminals of the future not getting away with it.

Sad then that his organisation in Los Angeles has become one of Israel's main defenders in America with campaigns against a British ambassador to Israel for likening Gaza to a detention centre (they called it holocaust denial) and against Ken Livingstone for likening a reporter to a concentration camp guard (they called it holocaust denial). Oh, lest we forget, they supported the candidacy of Hitler apologist Arnold Schwarzenegger after he donated $2,000,000 to their coffers. I'm guessing that the man himself was well away from the organisation by the time of all that stuff.

War crimes suspects update

Yesterday I posted that Israel had stumped up $1 million to defend its generals from war crimes charges in Europe following the flight (ouch) from London Heathrow Airport of General Doron Almog. A zionist who uses multiple identities posted that no decision had been made and that my post was therefore misleading. Not wanting to mislead, I went and changed the post. I have now received a report from the Jerusalem Post saying what I had said in the first place.
Israel's Justice Ministry has set aside about US$1 million ( 817,260) for legal aid to army officers who could face war crimes charges in European courts, an official said Monday.
I wonder would the same troll harrass and harangue the Jerusalem Post.

September 19, 2005

The price of crime?

The Israeli Justice Minister is seeking $1,000,000 in state funds to defend its war crimes suspects from charges in Europe, in particular the UK. From the report I've received (thanks Montag) I can't tell if the money is for legal fees in the event of the suspects being brought to court or if it's money to get European governments to simply change their laws. This is so ridiculous: Israel was supposed to be a colony of Europe, not the other way around. Anyway, you decide:
The Israeli Minister of Justice Tzipi Livni proposed a bill to the cabinet asking for $1 million to be allocated to defend senior army officers charged in Britain with war crimes, Israeli sources reported on Monday.

It is expected that cabinet will approve the draft law in its weekly meeting next Sunday, the source said.

Livni, said the source, has appointed a special legal team with a mission to persuade Britain and other European countries to change their laws which allows their courts to persecute foreign nationals.
What can it all mean?

Galloway stood up by Jane Fonda

Apparently George Galloway's been stood up by Jane Fonda according to the University of Wisconsin-Madison Community Newspaper, the Daily Cardinal. Still, he drew a crowd of 1,000 and a protest crowd of 25. So much for Hitchens following him wherever he went.
Recounting imperial atrocities in the Middle East and the rise of the neoconservative movement, vocal critic of the Iraq war and British member of Parliament George Galloway spoke to a crowd of 1,000 Sunday at the Memorial Union Theater. Despite the absence of a key speaker, actress Jane Fonda, Galloway invigorated the largely anti-war crowd.
Roughly 25 protesters chanted and waved signs bearing the mantras, "U.S.A.!" and "We Support the Troops." Erica Christenson, First Vice-Chair of the College Republicans, declined to comment, complaining of unfair media portrayal.

"We love [the troops], too. We love them so much we don't want them either killing or being killed anymore," Galloway said. "It's because we love our armed forces that we say it's time to bring them home."
A smear campaign seemed to be gathering pace at the weekend but it seems to be petering out now.

13 dead, nothing said

The BBC has just reported that 5 years after the event, an Israeli "judicial inquiry" has decided not to prosecute anyone over the Israeli police killing of 13 unarmed Israeli Arabs during riots in 2000. The report, which Palestinian sources call a police report, said
There is no alternative but to close all of the cases, some because of lack of sufficient evidence, and some because, to our regret, we have not managed to locate the responsible police officers.
I read recently that no Jews have ever been killed by Israeli police in riot situations.

Iraq feels Blair's growing pains

The Independent has run with titbits from the Mail on Sunday's serialisation of some former No.10 spin doctor's memoirs about his time as Alastair Campbell's deputy. Lance Price has been accused of "betrayal" by, of all people, the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Gus O'Donnell. I can't fully understand what's happened here but apparently Lance Price, that's the deputy spin doctor chap, wrote a book, presented it to the cabinet and No.10 and they made him tone down some bits. Well he seems to have toned them up again for Mail on Sunday readers' consumption. Here's
How Downing Street changed the diary


"I couldn't help feeling TB was rather relishing his first blooding as PM, sending the boys into action. Despite all the necessary stuff about taking action 'with a heavy heart', I think he feels it is part of his coming of age as a leader."


"I couldn't help feeling TB had mixed emotions about sending the boys into action. He said he did it with a 'heavy heart' but at the same time, he must have known it would happen some time and maybe it's part of the coming of age as a leader."


'"Fucking Welsh', repeated many times by TB."


"TB f-ing and blinding about the whole thing."


"No 10 were very edgy because apparently we've promised News International we won't make any changes to our Europe policy without talking to them."


"No 10 were very edgy because apparently News International are under the impression we won't make any changes without asking them."
One leading Labourite is quoted thus
We are very surprised at what he has done. We are even more surprised that he chose to give it to The Mail on Sunday, which is not exactly the most supportive of the Labour Party
Nor was News International until Blair started reporting for it.

BBC plays dead

Or maybe it's not playing. This is how the Guardian reports the BBC's response to Blair's attack on them reported by Rupert Murdoch.
The BBC and Downing Street were striving yesterday to avoid reopening old wounds after Rupert Murdoch said the prime minister had criticised the corporation's coverage of Hurricane Katrina as "full of hatred for America and gloating"
So the BBC glosses over smears on what precious little integrity it (or its staff) has.

September 18, 2005

How long can Blair stay on as PM?

From the UK's Independent on Sunday.

Britain has long been a democracy characterised by one man one vote. Unfortunately the man is Rupert Murdoch. As part of America's democratic tradition, Presidential and Vice-Presidential hopefuls have televised debates where they tell the public what they're going to do if elected. They struck me as a bit silly. I remember Gore and Bush's first debate. The analysts on Gore's side were well pleased because he appeared intelligent and Bush, according to the feedback, seemed a bit stupid. Then, prior to the second debate, the feedback had been refined. Gore appeared to be a bit too clever and Bush seemed kind of sweet in his stupidness. Well here in the UK we don't have the televised debate. Our Prime Ministerial hopefuls go over to New York and tell Rupert Murdoch what they will do for him should they be elected. The one who is perceived as offering the most favours to Murdoch gets the support of Sky TV, the Sun and the Times newspapers and their sister Sundays: the News of the World and the Sunday Times.

Well now in a grotesque piece of grovelling sycophancy, Blair has told Rupert Murdoch of his dismay over the BBC World Service's coverage of Hurricane Katrina. The front page of the Independent is headed Blair tells Murdoch: 'gloating' BBC is 'full of hatred for America'.
In an extraordinary disclosure that will acutely embarrass Mr Blair, the world's most powerful media mogul revealed details of a private conversation that took place in New York on Thursday.[Which just goes to show how disrespectful Murdoch is to Blair.]

Addressing a conference of influential media figures in the United States, Mr Murdoch said the Prime Minister had told him he had been shocked at the way the BBC had handled the disaster.

"Tony Blair... told me yesterday that he was in Delhi last week and he turned on the BBC World Service to see what was happening in New Orleans, and he said it was just full of hate at America and gloating about our troubles," the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation said.
The BBC is a publicly owned corporation that many people love to hate. It has a remit to be balanced and challenging and to provide a voice to interests that, because of the dictates of media proprietors and commerce, might not otherwise have a voice. It mostly, indeed clearly, leans to the Government's position on all issues and lets dissent slip through the net only occasionally. Since the Lord Hutton affair (it was an affair in its own right) in the wake of the David Kelly suicide, where Lord Hutton against all evidence to the contrary, blamed the BBC for David Kelly's suicide, the BBC has been as pro-Government as it could possibly be whilst maintaining any semblence of credibility as a serious and impartial public service broadcaster. If you doubt that, just watch Jeremy Paxman's reaction to George Galloway's election win and the BBC's outrageous response to over a hundred complaints.

Well now look where their appeasement's got them. According to the Independent's report the BBC has issued a "withering response" to Blair's remarks which, frankly surprises me, and the Tories have stepped in to defend an organisation they used to routinely bash if they thought that they were insufficiently right-wing.

In the same edition of the Indie there's an article that has Blair threatening to stay in power if his Chancellor, Gordon Brown, doesn't back him over "reform" of public services, which is taken to mean flogging off bits of the National Health Service but which could well mean selling or giving the BBC to Murdoch. Isn't it about time the question of who rules Britain was taken out of Blair's and Murdoch's hands?

It's that debate again

I've read this blog post a few times now but I just read it again and then the comments and its well worth a look at. It's by a Hitchens fan who is desperately disappointed at his performance in the debate. It's shallow in parts, for example he believes that Galloway shot himself in the foot when he suggested that 9/11 was explained by America's support for Israel. Now that might not be the full explanation of 9/11 but it certainly goes a long way towards an explanation. So the guy is just a tad superficial but he seems earnest and that's what makes his post on this of interest.
Hitchens was terrible. He stammered and mumbled his way through the debate, which lasted almost two hours. Occasionally pursuasive, but mostly unsteady, his arguments often lacked direction and veered off on tangents which though powerful on the pages of a magazine or webpage, were no match for Galloway’s soapbox bluster. I didn’t score each of the rounds, but I would say Galloway won each and every one of them. At the end, when it looked like Hitchens was about to make a comeback, he shot himself in both feet and a couple of other orifices to boot, by appearing to defend Bush’s handling of the New Orleans flood crisis by springing to the defense of the troops who were belatedly deployed to the scene.
But this misses the point about this phase of Hitchens's career. He doesn't get paid now to articulate a principled stand. He gets paid to support Bush. That's what makes these allegations against Galloway so ridiculous. Suppose it's true that Galloway is personally corrupt. Hitchens's corruption is part of a group corruption. He can't condemn Bush's handling of anything, though he might hint at condemnation now and then.

The comments to the post are also very informative of ways of thinking about this debate, the war and politcal positions in general. Here's a comment from a chap called JohnG that sums up what's wrong with the post and the pro-war "argument" in general:
# johng Says:
September 15th, 2005 at 7:44 am

This just seems incoherent and a bit sad:

“Among Galloway’s ugly bombast tonight were such gems as his blatant support of the murderous Iraqi insurgency”

This is a suprise? Its what the argument is all about. If its an illegal invasion and occupation then people have a right to resist it. And the horrors now unfolding are connected to a war being waged not just by the insurgency but by the coalition and its backers (one imagines Blair ‘there is a connection but its a twisted connection’). This is called ‘ugly bombast’, which is apparently ‘blatant’.

“…his claims that the US and the UK were the two rogue states in the world”

Given that ‘rogue state’ simply means any state that opposes the US and its partners (and from a part of the world where big powers can get away with arm-twisting), Galloway here simply asks us to take the phoney pretext seriously. Perhaps Galloways invoking of a few passages from St Augustine’s confessions would be preferred. St Augustine uses essentially the same argumentative move.

“…his accusations that Britain and America sent Islamists to Afghanistan”

So is the vast apparatus set up by the US with its partners inside and outside the Islamic world to do precisely this not allowed to be spoken about? Amply documented in a range of historical accounts incidently. Its tasteless perhaps? In New York? In the US?

“his singling out of US support for Israel as the reason for September 11 while standing less than a couple of miles from Ground Zero almost four years to the day since the attacks took place”

Perhaps it would have been better if he made the rather obvious point somewhere else? Is this the famous cultural relativism you guys like to go on about? Would anyone seriously suggest that US support for Israel has not historically generated political currents which Bin Laden draws on?

Just perplexing. Oh and then apparently there was the Hitlerian way he gripped the lecturn. If this is the best pro-war liberals can do one wonders why they criticise Hitchens. I suspect that the problem is not Hitchens. Its difficulties in sustaining a coherent argument. I do detect a split in reactions to this. There are those who react to the crisis of their position by dropping leftist language and simply embracing Bush. And there are those who try and distance themselves from Bush but still support the war.

I have to admit its interesting to watch.
I grabbed this stuff from Lenin's Tomb to which I post occasionally. As I reached for the url I noticed that at the time of writing, Lenin's Tomb has generated 413 comments on this. I should be so lucky. For a blow by blow almost transcripted account see Justin Raimondo at

September 17, 2005

Jewish Chronicle: "it is possible to be fiercely anti-Zionist without a trace of anti-Semitism"

So says Tony Klug in his review of John Rose's "The Myths of Zionism" in last week's Jewish Chronicle. Many thanks to John Rose for sending me a copy of the review together with his original reply and the shortened reply that was actually published by the JC.

Here's the review with notes of my own in [brackets]
John Rose, not to be confused with Steven, Hilary or Jacqueline — Roses by other names [but, be warned, of similar politics] — does not perch on the fence: "Zionism," he asserts, "is the problem; its removal is the precondition for peace in the Middle East. It is the precondition for Arab-Jewish reconciliation in Palestine. That is the only possible conclusion to this book."

But it is not so much the conclusion as the premise and indeed the whole theme of the book. In his own words, Rose is an "ageing, Trotsky-supporting, anti-Zionist veteran from the 1968 student revolution." And it shows. To the extent that his aim was to make a contribution to "a debate on the Marxist Left" and to fortify the views of like-minded others, he has doubtless succeeded admirably. But the title alone is enough to ensure that the readership which could make a difference — the subscribers to the alleged myths — won’t get further than the cover. [especially if the promoters of said myths discourage them from doing so]

Rose cites some information gems, from the startling, "By the 9th century, Hebrew had become a leading international language," owing to the role of Jewish traders, through the arresting, "a quarter of the supporters of the International Solidarity Movement are Jewish," to the challenging, "a scholarly consensus is slowly and very reluctantly emerging amongst the archaeologists of modern Israel, that the buildings [Solomon’s Temple] never existed."

The book itself is a testament to how it is possible to be fiercely anti-Zionist without a trace of anti-Semitism. [actually that is big of him but it's also fashionable and easy to say when you're not actually defining zionism.] On the contrary, the author’s concern is that Zionism is the source of a lot of modern-day antipathy towards Jews, especially in Arab countries. He also reminds us that some of the early British pro-Zionists (Lloyd George, Balfour, even Churchill) had anti-Semitic tendencies, while some of Zionism’s strongest opponents were eminent Jews (Montagu).

The book has a number of serious flaws. One is the underlying assumption that a movement is valid only if it is free of myths. Very few nationalisms, religions, cultures or political ideologies would survive such a test. [This is tosh. It's the mobilisation of myth to establish a spurious legitimacy that makes zionism dependent on myths. We're not talking about the children of Lir here, or Romulus and Remus. We're talking about myths that make for a unique demand for self-determination for a people who do not, or at least, did not predominate in the territory it's nationalist movement demanded control of.] Another is that Rose posits a very selective, narrow, bleak version of Zionism, extremist, racist and inhumane: "Zionism sees a static, unchanging and hostile world where Jews can find no peace…," he says, also citing "the Zionist claim that all Palestinian land truly belongs to the Jews" and that Arabs and Jews cannot live together.

Certainly there are Zionists who take such positions but there are others who repudiate such views. [no names of course] Rose appears to find this inconceivable and comes close to debunking myths of his own making.

In his manifest determination to reach certain conclusions, Rose sometimes presents evidence that could just as easily point in the opposite direction. In the chapter "Eighteen Centuries of Jewish Suffering," the numerous instances of emancipation in European countries having failed the Jews is a notable example. Unintentionally, it makes an impressive case for Zionism as a plausible response to endemic anti-Semitism.[Damn it! Now I'm have to read the book again and it's 15 quid. I thought that the point he was making was that the so-called "lachymose" view of Jewish history was bogus and that there were instances of Jewish emanicipation in tandem with the rise of republicanism, liberalism, the Rights of Man, etc. and that in some ways zionism was as much a reaction (in every sense) to those progressive movements as it was to anti-semitism. But I really will have to read it through again.]

The book’s most serious weakness is that it pretends to have a solution. "Removing Zionism" is the other side of the coin that seeks to deny the existence of the Palestinian people. [Bollocks is it. Zionism is an ideology and a system that holds that Jews worldwide have more right to Palestine than the native people of Palestine. The Palestinians are a people. This is Klug pretending to believe that John Rose is calling for the removal of the Jews or the removal of the Israelis. He is calling for de-zionisation. That is an end, not to the Jewish or Israeli presence but an end to Jewish colonial rule.] Maybe one day the two national movements will merge or disappear. In the meantime, progress to peace depends crucially on both peoples coming to terms with the national imperative of the other. Any proposal which ignores this, however well-intentioned, cannot be taken seriously. Propagating
fallacies and indulging the illusions of either side will serve only to doom the long-suffering peoples of the region to further agony.[So there we have it. John Rose, as well intentioned as he is, emerges as a significant barrier to peace and a cause of agony. But being born in a certain place at a certain time may carry with it a "national imperative" whatever that means but zionism is not national in the sense of a people coming from a specific place being Palestinian is. Zionism is a choice, not an imperative. You can support or you can reject it. Being born in Palestine or coming from there is not a choice but when zionism is the choice the existence of a free and equal Palestinian people is negated or a least seriously hindered.]

Dr Tony Klug is a Middle East analyst and vice chair of the Arab-Jewish
So here is John Rose's response.
May I thank the JC for the review of my book, The Myths of Zionism, by Dr Tony Klug (August 8th) which recognised it as a "testament" of how to be fiercely anti-Zionist "without a trace of anti-Semitism". I am also delighted that he highlighted some of the book’s "information gems" - the basis of key chapters.

The point about Hebrew as an international trading language in the 9th century is that it underlines the significance of the Jewish merchant class that led Jewish communities for many centuries in medieval Europe. This crucial fact casts a very different light on Herzl’s erroneous view of "Eighteen Centuries of Jewish Suffering’ as a justification for the Zionist enterprise.

The point about Israeli archaeology failing to discover evidence for Solomon’s Temple is part of a wider view that the "United Monarchy of David & Solomon", ie "Ancient Israel", may similarly be biblical myth. This matters because of the cynical way "secular" Zionist leaders like Ben Gurion politically manipulated the bible. For example, in 1936, he told Britain that "the Bible is our Mandate" for a Jewish state in Palestine. Religious nationalism has its roots way beyond the Zionist fringe.

I take Tony Klug’s criticisms of my book very seriously, though I was surprised that he mocked the book’s Marxist perspective and assumed that it prevented a wider readership. Would he, (or for that matter JC readers), really disagree with Marx’s famous formulation concerning England/Ireland that ‘a nation that oppresses another can never itself be free’? Does this argument not apply even more today to Israel/Palestine, especially when the oppressor nation, Israel, is armed to the teeth by the US, the world’s only imperial super-power?
And here's what they actually published which I think probably does justice to the main points that John Rose makes.
May I thank the JC for the review of my book, The Myths of Zionism, by Dr Tony Klug (August 8th) which recognised it as a "testament" of how to be fiercely anti-Zionist "without a trace of anti-Semitism". He also highlighted some of the book’s "information gems". These are the basis of key chapters, which, for example, challenge Zionism’s lachrymose view of Jewish history as well as Ben Gurion’s outrageous claim that the Bible gave him a mandate for a Jewish state in Palestine.

I was surprised, though, that Tony Klug mocked the book’s Marxist perspective. Would he really disagree with Marx’s famous formulation concerning England/Ireland that "a nation that oppresses another can never itself be free"? Does this argument not apply even more today to Israel/Palestine, especially when the oppressor nation, Israel, is armed to the teeth by the US, the world’s only imperial super-power?
What surprises me here is the way that John Rose let Tony Klug get away with manipulating the concepts of peoplehood and ideology or, if you prefer, the way he (Klug) conflates a society (an involuntary group like the Palestinians) with an association (a group of choice like the zionist movement).

Teach Israel's children about Israel's ethnic cleansing

Here's an article from yesterday's Ha'aretz by Gideon Levy, suggesting that the kind of ethnic cleansing, without which Israel would not exist, should be taught in schools by way of a field trip to Tel Rumeida. Such a trip might act as an antedote to the "compassion" felt by so many Israelis for the withdrawl of the Gaza settlers.
About 500 Palestinian families once lived here; now barely 50 are left. What is going on here, far from the public eye, isn't just a cruel 'transfer,' but a reign of terror imposed by the settlers on the handful of residents who haven't left yet. This is where they built a settler stronghold that grew to frightening proportions, a multi-story building constructed with state sponsorship, surrounded now by a virtual ghost town, save for the small group of residents still clinging to their homes despite all the horror visited upon them by these violent lords of the land, these unwanted neighbors.
Still someone has to pay for making the desert green again.

Hitchens v Galloway on Democracy Now!

You can see the whole debate on the Democracy Now! website. The most non-political point that I could make here as that as the evening wore on, Hitchens's accent grew more American and, well, strange. At times he was almost singing his words. In his opening statement he sounded his normal public (that, in the UK, is posh) school self. But listen to the whole thing. I'm guessing he was drunk. Many leftists have been dismayed and angered by Hitchens's conversion from some kind of libertarian leftist to an apologist for the Bush regime. He even praised the US authorities handling of New Orleans in the wake of Katrina. I'm actually finding it painful to see his self-destruction. It doesn't, for me, invoke a political parallel. To me it looks like Paula Yates (the late Mrs, or was it Lady? Geldoff) sinking deeper into heroin and alcohol addiction and ultimately death. That what he's doing. Hitchens is dying a death. Galloway, by contrast, was on vintage form. He even managed to suggest that US policies in the Middle East were in some way to blame for 9/11 and 7/7. Much of the audience hated him for it but that is simply testimony to his courage. I'm actually listening to Hitchens now. He is denouncing Galloway as having cashed on the "oil for food" programme. He is asking "how can he show his face here?" This is the man who requested the debate in the first place. What a shmock, or shmuck if you're in America.

If you listen to or watch this, compare it with the Finkelstein/Dershowitz debate. As Finkelstein refrained from interrupting Dershowitz's opening remarks, no matter how outrageous, so Galloway refrained from interrupting Hitchens's opening shots. Now compare Hitchens's conduct through Galloway's opening with Dershowitz's response to Finkestein's opening remarks. Just as Dershowitz kept on interrupting Finkelstein, so Hitchens interrupts Galloway until Galloway objects.

I'll update this later because there are various links that one might want to visit to firm up on this or that detail mentioned by Hitchens and/or Galloway.

September 16, 2005

War criminal at the UN

According to Ha'aretz, Ariel Sharon used his speech at the UN to address his own Likud party, not as an election pitch but a farewell speech.
Sharon's aides promised the speech would not be directed at the Likud Central Committee, and indeed it sounded like the prime minister's statement of farewell to his party. This is not the way people in the Likud talk, and Sharon appeared to understand that he has no chance of winning in the Likud and must embark on a new political way. This way heads toward the center, toward a public that wants peace and quiet and is willing to give up more territories in addition to the Gaza Strip. The speech in Hebrew, on prime time television, was intended to convey this message to every home in Israel.
Apparently Sharon's speech borrowed heavily from both Golda Meir and Yitzhak Rabin before him. There references to peace "for our children and grandchildren" and an
apology for choosing the army and war as a way of life, which was forced on him instead of the farmwork he loved.
But then he went and spoiled it by lobbying Tony Blair for his war criminal henchmen.
Alluding the arrest warrant issued in Britain against Major General Doron Almog, he said to Blair: "I want to visit Britain, but I'm not sure I can, because of my 32 wonderful years in the army. I remember British prisons are not so pleasant."
After "apologising" for "choosing" wars that were "forced" on him, he then described his war criminal career as "wonderful." No change there then.

September 15, 2005

Defeat in the Apple for the Rightist formerly known as Hitchens

So the "grapple in the Apple" has taken place. Hitchens and Galloway have had their debate in New York. You can hear it here if you can find your way through an extremely scrappy site. Even friends of Hitchens, and even one who compares Galloway to Hitler, are saying that he lost this one.

Another General, another flight from justice

Following the flight of General Doron Almog from justice in the UK many people will have been reminded of another general, General Pinochet of Chile, and his flight from the UK. Well now the Guardian has run an article on how Pinochet was in the pay of British Aerospace (BAe), the UK's biggest arms supplier.
Covert payments to Pinochet-linked groups are listed on documents compiled by the Chilean authorities and obtained by the Guardian. They record large payments from BAe as recently as last year.
There were some major differences between the Almog case and that of Pinochet. Pinochet's was an extradition hearing and it was held by the appeal court that he couldn't be extradited because he was an acting head of state when he committed his offences. Almog is wanted by the UK, not a third country. Also, he can't claim head of state or prime minister status. That latter is how General Sharon wriggled off the hook with the Belgian authorities who wanted to charge him with war crimes.

Where the Pinochet case does bear comparison with the cases of Israeli war criminals iS that, with this BAe case, we now find that only is Pinochet to go unpunished, he is being rewarded. Isn't this the case with western approaches to Israeli war criminals? We don't just let them off the hook, we applaud them in our media and reward them with preferential trade arrangements and America provides billions of dollars in aid, loans and loan guarantees. These payments and guarantees are often specifically for Israel to commit still more war crimes.

And it's going to get worse before it gets better. For two days now, Ariel Sharon has been enjoying red carpet treatment at the UN, the supposed guardian and guarantor of international law. The bringing of legal actions, even failed actions, against Israel's war criminals should bring hope to their victims, mostly Palestinians, and their supporters, so this féting at the UN shouldn't be too demoralising. But this hospitality, not to mention sycophancy, accorded to a war criminal could signify the beginning of the end for the UN.

September 14, 2005

Jews against Jews for Jesus

Here's a fascinating article in the Bartholomew's notes on religion blog. There are about 6,000 messianic Jews in Israel.
Messianic Jews are Jews who have become Christians, but who maintain a Jewish identity and worship in a Jewish style.
Well apparently a community of about 30 of them in the southern Israeli desert town of Arad are being victimised by an orthodox Jewish group called the Gur Chasidim.
Gur Chassidim (or "Gur Hassidim") is dominant within Agudat Israel, a body which represents many Ultra-Orthodox Jews, and has a long history of militancy that goes back to nineteenth-century Poland.

Please go to Bartholomew's blog to read the whole thing. It has the current situation together with links to historical information about both the messianic Jews and their Israeli and orthodox Jewish oppressors.

One on Almog I should have prepared earlier

For all I have read about the case against war criminal, General Doron Almog, I have only just looked at the site of Hickman Rose, the firm that brought the case against him. There's something bothering about this:
This unprecedented arrest warrant against a senior Israeli soldier was issued after years of failed efforts to obtain justice through the Israeli judicial system. Because of the failure of the Israeli judiciary to combat impunity, PCHR, acting for victims in Gaza, built a file of evidence with the help of Hickman & Rose Solicitors to pursue a case against him (and others) in the UK in accordance with the legal principle of universal jurisdiction over war crimes.
Drawing on the work of Norman Finkelstein, I posted earlier about how Israel strives to justify its unjusitfiable conduct via its Supreme Court. Is it possible that Israel might bring charges against these people so that they can be let off lightly by the Israeli courts and then the, say, British can say they went through due process? I don't know, but another genie is out of the bottle so we can be pleased about that.

Eye Eye!

Lenin's Tomb has made it to a mention in Private Eye over the purging of the IEM website of an entry headed The politics of weather 3: the shyness of experts. It's actually in the first article of the 16/9 to 29/9/2005 edition that came out today. Not that you could find it on line, it only publishes a small selection of jokes and cartoons from the print edition. "For the "serious" stuff, you'll just have to buy the magazine..." To read the article, go to the Tomb. It's author is China Miéville.

Almog should still worry

Apparently Doron Almog will have problems in Switzerland should he turn up there on a "humanitarian mission." Check this article from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.
Swiss law provides for the search for and prosecution of those responsible for ordering or commiting grave breaches of international humanitarian law. This legislation is based on the obligations set out in article 146 of the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949 (the Fourth Geneva Convention). The authority to investigate such acts is granted to the Swiss Military Attorney General. Switzerland also enjoys particular status as the depository of the Geneva Conventions.
Meanwhile Daniel Machover, the hunan rights lawyer leading the charge (ouch!) against Almog said:
There needs to be a criminal investigation of the actions taken by Israeli embassy staff. They are not located here to assist Israelis to evade British justice.

Mr Machover also called for a police inquiry into how the information was leaked to the Israeli embassy and how the Israeli diplomat got through various layers of security at Heathrow to board the plane.
It could well have been someone fairly junior in the UK police or judiciary who tipped the Israelis off in the first place but for various Israelis to get Heathrow security onto the plane must have required someone (at least one) at a very senior level. This is scandal. Will it run? That rather depends on the tenacity of the lawyers and on media interest in this.

September 13, 2005

Israeli war crimes suspect tipped off: whodunnit?

Questions are now being asked as to who tipped off the Israelis about the intention to arrest one of their generals, Doron Almog, and charge him with war crimes. There are other questions too. The Israeli military attaché in London boarded the plane to advise Almog to stay put. How did he get through Heathrow's security staff and systems. Daniel Machover wants the police to investigate the whole shebang. And he's not alone:
Amnesty International criticised British police yesterday for failing to execute the warrant. "He could have been arrested; under UK law there is no reason for not arresting him once he's on UK soil," the human rights group said. Mr Almog was due to visit Jewish communities in Birmingham, Leicester and London to raise money for a centre for disabled children. His son Eran, 20, is severely disabled.
See that last bit. "His son Eran, 20, is severely disabled." And yet dad, it seems, goes out causing death and hideous injury to those Israel deems to be racially (sorry, religiously, culturally, nationally, linguistically) inferior. He then bleated to Channel 4 tonight that he was on a humanitarian mission.

More in the Guardian.