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Israel News - July 26, 2014


Israel and Hamas agree to 12-hour halt to fighting; Kerry says more work needed for full ceasefire - The Chronicle Herald


Hamas considers 7-day ceasefire in Gaza: Group leader - Anadolu Agency


VIDEO: Kerry calls for sense over Gaza, insists he is still "confident" a week-long truce can be secured - YouTube


Pursing Ceasefire, Kerry Looks to Hamas Supporters Turkey and Qatar for Help - CNS News


Hamas allies Turkey, Qatar huddle as Gaza truce calls mount - Yahoo News


Turkey FM meets Hamas chief Meshaal in Doha for Gaza talks: Official - Ahram Online


Gaza conflict spotlights role of Qatar, the Hamas-funding U.S. ally - JNS.org


Why Qatar could be key to a Gaza ceasefire - CNN.com Blogs


Who in the Arab World Still Supports Hamas? - TIME


VIDEO: Israel: Qatar is funding Hamas - CNN


Meet the Hamas billionaires: One of the big mysteries is how the Palestinian leaders have become so wealthy and reclusive - Globes English


Private jets, restaurants, luxury hotels: the good life of senior Hamas officers - Ynetnews


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Israel weakens Hamas, but demilitarization far off - THE DAILY STAR


White House Adviser: Cease-Fire Should Include Demilitarization Of Gaza (AUDIO) - NPR


EU calls on Hamas, Islamic Jihad to disarm - The Times of Israel


Saudi Arabia behind effort to disarm the Palestinian Resistance - Al Akhbar English


Mofaz's Gaza 'demilitarization for dollars' plan gains traction, Netanyahu, Peres endorse idea that calls for the international community to oversee it - JPost


Cease-fire Brokers Grapple With How to Rebuild Gaza, Israel Will Need Security Guarantees to Ease Blockade - WSJ


Palestinian journalist and media activist: Demilitarizing Gaza Could End Conflict for Good - US News


VIDEO: Israel Economics Minister Bennett to CNN: We will continue until we disarm Hamas - YouTube


AUDIO: What Would Demilitarizing Gaza Entail? - NPR


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Violent Clashes Over Gaza Erupt in the West Bank After 10,000-Strong March - newsweek.com


VIDEO: Raw AP footage of West Bank Clashes - YouTube


VIDEO: Injured West Bank Protesters Pour Into Hospital - LiveLeak.com

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

The Palestinian Right and the American Left

Chris Hedges says that Palestinians have the right to self-defense in the form of rockets, without including any consideration of whether the rockets make the Palestinians more or less defended.  There is, after all, a reasonable argument that the rockets are counter-productive and endangering, rather than protecting, Palestine.

Legally, if we ignore the Kellogg-Briand Pact and stick to the U.N. Charter, much less its frequent abuse by the powerful nations of the world, there is no doubt that Hedges is correct.  If demolishing Iraqi or Afghan or Libyan or Pakistani or Yemeni homes is "defense" of the United States, then surely the people of Gaza, under actual attack, have the legal right to shoot rockets at Israel.  That's just basic Western consensus with the hypocrisy removed.

"[M]any Palestinians, especially young men trapped in overcrowded hovels where they have no work and little dignity," writes Hedges, "will risk immediate death to defy the slow, humiliating death of occupation. I cannot blame them."

Here are the false choices framed: either we blame the victims of Israel's vicious and massive assault on a trapped population, blame them for reacting as virtually anyone else in the so-called developed world would, or we advocate for the right to fight defensive wars -- regardless of whether it helps or hurts the situation.  Those are not the only options.

I'm not sure I can prove that the rockets hurt the situation, but to render the question inadmissible seems fatally flawed.  The justification that the U.S. Congress and White House use for arming Israel and seeking to shelter Israel from legal consequences is always and exclusively the rockets.  The justification that Israeli spokespeople use on television is likewise almost entirely the rockets.  In a world without the rockets, would other excuses prove successful? It's hard to say for sure.  But the rockets provide the public packaging for Israeli war-making, accomplish virtually nothing in military terms, and almost certainly do more to frighten and enrage the people of Israel than to bring Israelis around to sympathizing with the plight of their government's victims.

I've just spoken by phone with a smart writer in Gaza named Sarah Ali for an upcoming edition of Talk Nation Radio.  She explained to me quite eloquently how Israeli attacks on Gaza were generating support for Hamas and violence against Israel.  She described the emotional need to fight back.  So, I asked her if rocket attacks on Israel weren't likewise counterproductive. No, she said, she imagined that Israelis saw the rockets and began to understand the point of view of Palestinians.  In the absence of any evidence of that phenomenon, I can only say that I'll believe it when I see it.  In every case I'm aware of in which one nation has militarily attacked another, it has done far more to enrage than to stimulate sympathy in the people coming under attack.

Of course, I have no right to tell the people of Gaza what to do or not do from the comfort of my home in the heart of the imperial monster that is funding their apocalypse.  Of course I cannot know the situation as they know it.  But it's not clear to me that every Gazan has as deep a familiarity with Israelis or every Israeli with Gazans as one might imagine from their geographic vicinity.  The division between these two societies is extreme.  How else could Israelis imagine children as their enemies?  And how else could those children's parents imagine that firing rockets would win over hearts and minds?

This is the Israeli Military Calling: Civilizing War Has Failed

http://www.worldbeyondwar.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/voltaire.jpgProbably the biggest news story of 1928 was the war-making nations of the world coming together on August 27th and legally outlawing war.  It's a story that's not told in our history books, but it's not secret CIA history.  There was no CIA.  There was virtually no weapons industry as we know it.  There weren't two political parties in the United States uniting in support of war after war.  In fact, the four biggest political parties in the United States all backed abolishing war.

Cue whining, polysyllabic screech: "But it didn't wooooooooork!"

I wouldn't be bothering with it if it had.  In its defense, the Kellogg-Briand Pact (look it up or read my book) was used to prosecute the makers of war on the losing sides following World War II (an historic first), and -- for whatever combination of reasons (nukes? enlightenment? luck?) -- the armed nations of the world have not waged war on each other since, preferring to slaughter the world's poor instead. Significant compliance following the very first prosecution is a record that almost no other law can claim.

The Kellogg-Briand Pact has two chief values, as I see it.  First, it's the law of the land in 85 nations including the United States, and it bans all war-making.  For those who claim that the U.S. Constitution sanctions or requires wars regardless of treaty obligations, the Peace Pact is no more relevant than the U.N. Charter or the Geneva Conventions or the Anti-Torture Convention or any other treaty.  But for those who read the laws as they are written, beginning to comply with the Kellogg-Briand Pact makes far more sense than legalizing drone murders or torture or bribery or corporate personhood or imprisonment without trial or any of the other lovely practices we've been "legalizing" on the flimsiest of legal arguments.  I'm not against new national or international laws against war; ban it 1,000 times, by all means, if there's the slightest chance that one of them will stick. But there is, for what it's worth, already a law on the books if we care to acknowledge it.

Second, the movement that created the Pact of Paris grew out of a widespread mainstream international understanding that war must be abolished, as slavery and blood feuds and duelling and other institutions were being abolished.  While advocates of outlawing war believed other steps would be required: a change in the culture, demilitarization, the establishment of international authorities and nonviolent forms of conflict resolution, prosecutions and targeted sanctions against war-makers; while most believed this would be the work of generations; while the forces leading toward World War II were understood and protested against for decades; the explicit and successful intention was to make a start of it by outlawing and formally renouncing and rendering illegitimate all war, not aggressive war or unsanctioned war or inappropriate war, but war.

In the never-ending aftermath of World War II, the U.N. Charter has formalized and popularized a very different conception of war's legality.  I've just interviewed Ben Ferencz, aged 94, the last living Nuremberg prosecutor, for an upcoming edition of Talk Nation Radio.  He describes the Nuremberg prosecutions as happening under the framework of the U.N. Charter, or something identical to it, despite the chronological problem.  He believes that the U.S. invasion of Iraq was illegal.  But he claims not to know whether the U.S. invasion and ongoing over-12-year war on Afghanistan is legal or not.  Why? Not because it fits either of the two gaping loopholes opened up by the U.N. Charter, that is: not because it is U.N.-authorized or defensive, but -- as far as I can make out -- just because those loopholes exist and therefore wars might be legal and it's unpleasant to acknowledge that the wars waged by one's own nation are not.

Of course, plenty of people thought more or less like that in the 1920s and 1930s, but plenty of people also did not.  In the era of the United Nations, NATO, the CIA, and Lockheed Martin we have seen steady progress in the doomed attempt, not to eliminate war, but to civilize it.  The United States leads the way in arming the rest of the world, maintaining a military presence in most of the world, and launching wars.  Western allies and nations armed, free-of-charge, by the United States, including Israel, advance war-making and war-civilizing, not war-abolition.  The notion that war can be eliminated using the tool of war, making war on war-makers in order to teach them not to make war, has had a far longer run than the Kellogg-Briand Pact had prior to its supposed failure and the Truman Administration's remaking of the U.S. government into a permanent war machine in the cause of progress. 

Civilizing war for the benefit of the world has been an abysmal failure.  We now have wars launched on unarmed defenseless people thousands of miles away in the name of "defense."  We now have wars depicted as U.N.-authorized because the U.N. once passed a resolution related to the nation being destroyed.  And just seconds before the Israeli military blows up your house in Gaza, they ring you up on the telephone to give you a proper warning. 

I remember a comedy sketch from Steve Martin mocking the phony politeness of Los Angeles: a line of people waited their turn to withdraw cash from a bank machine, while a line of armed robbers waited their turn in a separate line to politely ask for and steal each person's money.  War is past the point of such parody.  There is no space left for satire.  Governments are phoning families to tell them they're about to be slaughtered, and then bombing the shelters they flee to if they manage to flee. 

Is mass-murder acceptable if done without rape or torture or excessive targeting of children or the use of particular types of chemical weapons, as long as the victims are telephoned first or the murderers are associated with a group of people harmed by war several decades back?

Here's a new initiative that says No, the abolition of the greatest evil needs a renaissance and completion: WorldBeyondWar.org.

Never Again to Us

By Robert C. Koehler

“Israel regrets every injury to civilians. I call on the residents of Gaza: Don’t stay there. Hamas wants you to die, we want you to be safe.”

This is Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as quoted in the Jewish Daily Forward, cleansing the nation’s collective conscience. Is it really that easy to sweep away the moral sting of violent action? A captive population is being pummeled with missiles. Well over 500 Palestinians have died so far in Operation Protective Edge, three-quarters of them civilians and, of course, many of them children. But “we want you to be safe” and wish we didn’t have to do this.

Netanyahu, pushed into a public relations corner by global sympathy for the Palestinians, also made this slightly more cynical, less regret-tinged comment: “They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can. They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause. They want the more dead, the better.”

Glenn Greenwald compared this remark to a 1941 comment by Joseph Goebbels, belittling the Jews for plucking the sympathy strings of soft-hearted Germans: “One suddenly has the impression,” the Nazi propaganda minister wrote, “that the Berlin Jewish population consists only of little babies whose childish helplessness might move us, or else fragile old ladies.”

Violence begets violence in a never-ending cycle. And violence is almost always perpetrated against the powerless. The perpetrators have “interests” at stake but almost nothing to lose. Bombing a civilian population is the moral equivalent of torture. This is the story of Western civilization; it’s the story of “progress.” On and on it goes.

Writer Naomi Klein, who is Jewish-American, put it this way when she spoke in Israel in 2009, according to Haaretz: “The debate boils down to the question: ‘Never again to everyone, or never again to us?’”

Nations aren’t formed around the first possibility, which requires an evolutionary leap we haven’t made as a species: to build collective structures that honor the whole of humanity. Nations require enemies. Last week, writing about nationalism, I quoted historian Michael Howard, who wrote: “From the very beginning, the principle of nationalism was almost indissolubly linked, both in theory and practice, with the idea of war.”

Israel is the contemporary poster child of this principle.

In an open letter addressed to the United Nations and the nations of the world, 64 public figures — among them, seven Nobel Peace Prize recipients — called for an arms embargo against Israel, whose “ability to launch such devastating attacks with impunity largely stems from the vast international military cooperation and trade that it maintains with complicit governments across the world.”

This is the hegemonic complicity, one might say, that rules the world. Richard Falk, former U.N. special rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, called it “accountability for enemies of the West, impunity for the West and its friends.”

He went on: “Such double standards highlight the tensions between law and justice. There is currently no greater beneficiary of this deformed political culture of impunity than the political leadership and military command structure of Israel.”

The most chilling sentences in the open letter signed by the Nobel laureates and others were these: “Israel’s military technology is marketed as ‘field-tested’ and exported across the world. Military trade and joint military-related research relations with Israel embolden Israeli impunity in committing grave violations of international law and facilitate the entrenchment of Israel’s system of occupation, colonization and systematic denial of Palestinian rights.”

Field-tested? There’s more going on here than alleged self-defense, or even the pursuit of territorial interests. This is about business. Israel is one of the world’s leading arms exporters, ranking number six globally in 2012, behind the United States, Russia and France. Britain and Germany, according to IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly. Periodically bombing the Gaza Strip is apparently the way it field-tests its weapons and maintains a position of global respect among the international war-mongering and moneyed classes — which own the world, or at least assume they do.

Indeed, Israeli journalist Yotam Feldman is the director of a 2013 documentary called “The Lab,” which asserts that the occupied territories, whatever else they are, have become a lab for testing and showcasing Israel’s weapons systems.

There’s such a thing as self-defense, but there’s no such thing as a principled, or legitimate, war. Murder is always murder: a zero-sum game of winning and losing through sheer, violent domination.

As individuals, we can look at the carnage that our own and other governments wreak and cry, from the depth of our souls, “Never again.”

When we band together in armed groups, we link in fear and hatred and cheapen our salvation. “Never again to us (and only us)” is a battle cry of the lost, guaranteeing perpetual war and everyone’s ultimate demise — even the profiteers’.

Robert Koehler is an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist and nationally syndicated writer. His book, Courage Grows Strong at the Wound (Xenos Press), is still available. Contact him at koehlercw@gmail.com or visit his website at commonwonders.com.

© 2014 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, INC.

Barbecuing the Palestinians: Once it was Nazis Leveling the Warsaw Ghetto, Now it’s Israel’s IDF Leveling Gaza

By Dave Lindorff


About six years ago, as part of his Bar Mitzvah, my son Jed did a project on the Warsaw Ghetto uprising, producing his own graphic novel about the undergound fighters who used courage, creativity and the city’s sewer system to, in some small way, offer resistance to the murderous program of the Nazis to exterminate Poland’s Jews. 


Veterans to Deliver Letter to Israeli Ambassador to United States

Stop the Slaughter of Palestinian Civilians in Gaza!

Members of Veterans For Peace will deliver a letter to Israel's Embassy, 3514 International Dr. NW, WashingtonD.C. 20008, at 1:30 pm Monday afternoon, July 21. The letter calls on the government of Israel to immediately halt the bombing of Palestinian civilians and to withdraw all its troops and military assets from Gaza.  Colonel Ann Wright, who has visited Palestine and Israel several times, will head up the delegation.

The letter reads as follows:

To: Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer

From: Veterans For Peace National Board of Directors

Dear Ambassador Dermer,

As veterans who have witnessed the horror of war, we are deeply outraged by the state of Israel's slaughter of many innocent civilians in Gaza. The military assault against children, women and men, by air, by sea and now by land, is a clear violation of international laws of war and of human rights.   More than 300 Palestinians have been murdered, almost all of them civilians, nearly a quarter of them children. Thousands are wounded, including nearly 1,000 children.

Veterans For Peace joins millions of people all around the globe who are shocked by this vicious, one-sided slaughter. We understand the huge injustice of the Israeli occupation. Palestinians have been ethnically cleansed from their homes and forced to live in the Occupied West Bank, or in the open-air prison that is Gaza.

Mr. Ambassador, please tell the government of Israel to stop the massacre now! There should be an immediate end to all bombing and an immediate withdrawal of all Israeli military from Gaza.

Mr. Ambassador, please remind Prime Minister Netanyahu that you can bomb the world into pieces, but you cannot bomb it into peace.

Veterans For Peace calls for an end to the 8-year blockade of Gaza, so that normal trade and travel can occur.

Mr. Ambassador, please remind the government of Israel of the billions of dollars in aid that is provided to Israel by the United States. Veterans For Peace will push for an end to all military aid to Israel until such time as the Israeli occupation gives way to real peace negotiations based on the human rights of all the people concerned.

Veterans For Peace recommits itself to participating in the international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel and Israeli products.

We encourage all parties to search for a nonviolent path to peace. We urge both Hamas and the government of Israel to refrain from targeting civilians.  We especially call on the state of Israel to stop its massive violence now. It is time to recognize the human rights of the Palestinian people, including their right to return to the homes from which they were forced to flee in 1948.

Mr. Ambassador, the peoples of Palestine, Israel and the world deserve to live in peace and harmony.  The ultimate goal of Veterans For Peace is to abolish war. In the meantime, we stand ready to assist those Israelis and Palestinians who seek peace and reconciliation.

[signed]  Patrick McCann, President

for National Board of Directors

VETERANS FOR PEACE

www.VeteransForPeace.org

Israel News - July 19, 2014


Israel takes Gaza war underground by targeting tunnels - The Washington Post


Full text of Israeli PM statement on Gaza, Netanyahu says ground operation launched in order to damage terror tunnels - Haaretz


IDF unearths at least 20 Gaza tunnels believed used to smuggle weapons - JPost


Why the Hamas tunnels are first priority in Israel's ground offensive - The Times of Israel


VIDEO: Israel army opens fire on 13 armed Palestinians infiltrating Israel via Gaza tunnel - Haaretz


VIDEO: Tunnel and Weapons Used During Hamas Infiltration into Israel - YouTube


VIDEO: IDF Givati Brigade Detects Terror Tunnel - YouTube


VIDEO: IDF troops enter Gaza Strip as operation continues - jspacenews.com


From Gaza, an Array of Makeshift Rockets Packs a Counterpunch - NYTimes.com


20 missiles found in UN-run school in Gaza, UNRWA apologizes to Israel and condemns a ‘flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises’ - The Times of Israel


The Mofaz plan for demilitarizing Gaza - The Times of Israel


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Gaza conflict: Palestinian death toll reaches 274 amid fierce fighting - theguardian.com


20 Hamas fighters killed, 13 captured in first hours of ground offensive - The Times of Israel


Obama expresses concerns to Netanyahu about civilian Gaza deaths - Reuters


VIDEO: Obama Says Israel Has Right to Defend Itself, Is Concerned About Innocent Deaths - YouTube


US State Dep: Israel must do more to protect Gaza civilians - The Times of Israel


Kerry urges 'precise operation' from Israel in Gaza ground campaign, to target tunnels and avoid further escalation - Reuters


Hamas under pressure to accept immediate ceasefire in Gaza - theguardian.com


Hamas leader says Israel must 'lift siege' of Gaza before any ceasefire - Telegraph


VIDEO: Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal lays out terms of ceasefire - Telegraph


Arab World Increasingly Frustrated With Hamas - Algemeiner.com


REPORT: The Current Gaza Conflict: Arab World Losing Patience With Hamas - memri.org


Egypt says Qatar, Turkey and Hamas hurt Gaza ceasefire bid - Reuters


France asks Qatar to get Hamas to agree Gaza ceasefire: source - chicagotribune.com


Qatar seeks role as Gaza mediator, Israel wary - Reuters


Turkey spars with Egypt over failed Gaza cease-fire bid - todayszaman.com


Turkish PM accuses Israel of terrorism, genocide; protesters pelt consulate with stones - Fox News


After violent protests, Israel to pull some diplomatic staff from Turkey - The Times of Israel


VIDEO: Turkey Police defend Israeli consulate from furious Palestine demo - YouTube


Abbas asks France to lobby Hamas for Gaza truce - GlobalPost


Hamas slams Abbas despite condemnation of Gaza op - Ynetnews

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

Israel News - July 17, 2014


Israel, Hamas agree to 5-hour cease-fire to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza - Fox News


Hamas demands changes to Egypt Gaza ceasefire plan - AFP


Hamas and Islamic Jihad set ten conditions in return for ten years of truce with Israel - israelmatzav.blogspot.com


Islamic Jihad: Fighting in Gaza will continue until demands met - Maan News Agency


'I want peace. I'm exhausted by war': Gazans speak out amid brief lull - theguardian.com


POLL: Gaza Public Rejects Hamas, Wants Ceasefire - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy


POLL: Violence is not a popular option among Palestinians, Hamas is not benefiting from the crisis - The Washington Institute for Near East Policy


While Gazans suffer in poverty leaders of Hamas live in luxury, They built their wealth through taxes on goods that were smuggled through the tunnels - The Tower


PA and Fatah have no ability to intervene in the Gaza strip because it is ruled exclusively by Hamas despite the unity agreement, Abbas adviser says - The Canadian Jewish News


For ceasefire, Abbas proposes PA forces along Gaza-Egypt border - The Times of Israel


Gaza: An exclusive look into the roles of Hamas’ al-Qassam Brigades and Islamic Jihad - Al Akhbar English


Military wing of Hamas says it launched drones into Israel -- one of them downed by an Israeli Patriot missile - LA Times


VIDEO: Hamas releases own footage of armed drone and rocket fire at Israel - Haaretz


VIDEO: Israel shoots down homemade Hamas drone - Fox News


Analysis-Hamas homemade rocket industry bypasses crumbling supply lines - Reuters


Blog: Hamas Rocket Technology Moving Up - americanthinker.com


Israeli app tracks Hamas rocket attacks - THE DAILY STAR


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Israeli Shells Kill Four Children Playing Football On Gaza Beach - NYTimes.com


Witness Accounts of Israeli Gaza Attack That Killed 4 Boys - NYTimes.com


Police: First Israeli citizen killed by Hamas rocket fire, He was a rabbi delivering food to IDF troops - AP


Netanyahu Says Demilitarizing Gaza Strip Is Israel Priority - Businessweek


Analysis: Netanyahu talks of demilitarization as rocket barrage continues - JPost


Israel to Pause Bombing on Thursday, but Gaza Invasion Is Still Seen Likely - NYTimes.com


Livni: If Hamas rocket fire persists, Israel will have no choice but to invade Gaza - JPost


Undermining PM, Liberman calls to retake Gaza, denounces truce efforts - The Times of Israel


Ex-Israel Intelligence chief Efraim Halevy calls for talks with Hamas: ‘There are worse options than Hamas’ (VIDEO) - CNN.com Blogs


Israel warns Gazans to flee as air campaign intensifies, Hamas tells residents to ignore evacuation instructions - The Times of Israel


Israel charges 3 suspects in Palestinian teen 'revenge killing' - Fox News


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Obama: US using all means to get Israel cease-fire - US News


VIDEO: Barack Obama Calls for Israel Gaza Ceasefire - " Want to Protect Civilians on Both Sides " - YouTube


US blocks Qatari funds to pay salaries to thousands of Hamas employees, Hamas won’t accept truce unless it receives payments - Times of Israel


Israel's Iron Dome Gets New Funding by US Lawmakers - foreignpolicy.com


Why More of Israel's Iron Dome Will Be Made in the U.S. - Businessweek


POLL: Republicans sympathize with Israel much more strongly than Democrats - WashingtonExaminer.com


POLL (Full Report): As Mideast Violence Continues, a Wide Partisan Gap in Israel-Palestinian Sympathies - Pew Research Center


Erdogan Dismisses Reconciliation With Israel Over Gaza ‘Terror’ - Bloomberg


Hamas reaches out to Qatar and Turkey for mediation - The Times of Israel


To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

CNN: Palestinians Want to Die

In this latest assault on Gaza, Israel had by Thursday already killed 69 Palestinians including 22 children and 13 women, plus 469 wounded including 166 children and 85 women, and 70 houses destroyed. These numbers have since increased significantly.

In this video from Thursday on CNN, Jake Tapper interviews Diana Buttu, a former advisor to the PLO.  After failing to persuade her of Israel's complete innocence, he tells her that Hamas is instructing women and children to remain in their homes to die as Israel bombs them. She responds by expressing doubt that people want to die.  Oh no, says Tapper, Palestinians live in a culture of martyrdom; they want to die.

William Westmoreland once remarked on Vietnam, where the United States killed 4 million men, women, children, and infants: "The Oriental doesn't put the same high price on life as does a Westerner. Life is plentiful. Life is cheap in the Orient."

Banastre Tarleton stood up in Parliament and defended the slave trade on the grounds that Africans did not object to being slaves.

President William McKinley said little brown Filipinos appreciated being conquered and dominated.

The view that the people you are abusing don't mind it has a long history of being employed to distract from the evil being done.

Just as powerful, if not more so, is the view that no evil is being done at all. 

ABC News' Diane Sawyer told her viewers that scenes of destruction in Gaza were actually in Israel, and was later forced to apologize, but did not note that scenes like those she'd shown do not exist in Israel, rather leaving the impression that a simple mistake had swapped out similar scenes from one country for the other.

Polls have found that people in the United States believe Iraq benefitted from the war that destroyed it and that Iraqis are grateful, while the United States itself suffered.

If people cannot be depicted as evil, because we see images of them, and they are 3 years old and have their limbs ripped off, and if our cruelty cannot be depicted as for their own good, then the cruelty must itself be denied.  We must completely avert our eyes or invert the facts.  Or we must blame someone else for it.  Blame Israel for getting a bit carried away after so many years of innocent suffering.

But it is with billions of dollars of weaponry provided free of cost courtesy of U.S. taxpayers that the Israeli military is bombing civilian neighborhoods in occupied Gaza. The ongoing occupation is at the root of the crisis, but this new turn to large-scale violence was produced by fraud. The Israeli government learned that three Israelis had been killed, falsely blamed Hamas, and falsely claimed to believe the young men might still be alive. This fraud was used to justify a search-and-rescue operation that left numerous dead and hundreds under arrest.

Small-scale violence by Palestinians is not justified by Israel's ongoing brutality. It is deeply immoral as well as absurdly counterproductive.  But if individual murders justified the mass killing of war, the United States would have to launch a full-scale war on itself every day of the year. And it is the United States' weaponry, provided under the euphemism of "aid," that is pounding the homes of the people of Gaza.

Jewish Voice for Peace says, in an open letter that you too can sign:

"In this time of tremendous suffering and fear, from Jerusalem to Gaza, and from Hebron to Be’er Sheva, we reaffirm that all Israelis and Palestinians deserve security, justice, and equality, and we mourn all those who have died.

"Our unshakeable commitment to freedom and justice for all compels us to acknowledge that this violence has fallen overwhelmingly on Palestinians. And it compels us to affirm that this violence has a root cause: Israel's illegal occupation.

"We are united in our belief that:

"The denial of Palestinian human rights must end.
Illegal settlements must end.
Bombing civilians must end.
Killing children must end.
Valuing Jewish lives at the expense of others must end.

"Only by embracing equality for all peoples can this terrible bloodshed end."

Israeli Lynch Mobs and the Banality of the West

By David Ragland

On June 30th, 2014, the bodies of three kidnapped Jewish-Israeli boys, Naftali Frankel, Gilad Shaar and Eyal Yifrach, were found in a shallow grave. In response, Israeli authorities and vigilantes killed tenPalestinians, “including at least three children, a pregnant woman, and a mentally ill man.”Recently, Israeli officials arrested six Jewish suspects in the kidnapping and murder of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy, reportedly as "extremist revenge"for the prior kidnapping and murder. Around the same time, two videos surfaced on social media showing the brutalization of Black American women by American police. In one, a professoris arrested and beaten for jaywalking and in the other an older Blackwomanis severely beaten.

The rhetoric and events surrounding the Israeli and Palestinian tragedies have sparked comparisons of historicand current structural injustices against American minority communities. Israel and the US, and other “Western”-identified nations, are fueling a racial superiority and complicity to apartheid conditions that cannot be tolerated in civilized society. Our moral outrage for murdered Israeli boys should extend to murdered Palestinians and people of color around the world, and we must begin building a new culture that no longer condones such brutality.

Israel’s response to the loss of its three youths - the detention and extrajudicial execution of Palestinians - is fueled by a socio-cultural environment in which the public’s outspoken hatred towards Palestiniansis being stoked by divisive rhetoric by political and religious leaders. In the US, politicians use racially coded language and negatively stereotypical characterizations, arguably resulting in fear of Black and Latino boys and “justifiable” violence against people of color.

How is this violence tolerated in a “civilized” global society?  In our global culture, the use of violence to manage or resolve conflict is acceptable. Many are numb to violence, especially if it is used against Palestinians or persons of color in Western-European nations. Underlying this arbitrary use of violence is a belief in the cultural, moral and racial superiority of “Western” identities. There is a profound failure to respect human life and dignity because our society teaches us to disrespect others by stereotyping all Arabs as terrorists and Black and Latino boys as criminals.  Thus, violence against these groups is justifiable. We have yet to develop the capacity for moral outrage of injustice and violence against those who are different from us. There is a hypocrisy at work when there is outrage for the lost lives of Israelis and none for the thousands of Palestinian, Black and Latino youth who are brutally beaten, submitted to checkpoints on their native lands, stopped, frisked and jailed in Israeli and American adult prisons.

We shouldn’t divert attention from the murder of the Israeli teens, the apartheid conditions or the most recent brutal attacks on Palestinians, but these episodes of violence should spark moral outrage at the lack of attention to human dignity and double standards imposed on people of color throughout the world.  

Nelson Mandela, Jimmy Carter, Bishop Tutu, and the PresbyterianChurch acknowledge that the illegal occupation and oppression of the Palestinians is immoral. Still, US tax dollars continue to support the Israeli military. The only ethical response for persons of conscious is to boycott Israel, divestand avoid any kind of financial support of this Apartheid Regime. 

Contact your politicians to pressure Israel to stop the irrational, revenge violence against Palestinians. Contact your politicians and demand an end to police and vigilante murders, brutality and racial profiling. As Hannah Arendt reminds us, evil is not black and white, but an absence of moral capacities to see each other in our full humanity.  To see the “Other” as human means to respect their dignity and culture, to stand with the oppressed in solidarity and to oppose the blind rage of police and military brutality that creates the environment for such horrific acts of violence against our fellow human beings.

David Ragland, writing for PeaceVoice, is a visiting Assistant Professor of education at Bucknell University, board member for the Peace and Justice Association and United Nations representative for the International Peace Research Association.

Israel News - July 10, 2014


Israel steps up Gaza Strip airstrikes on second day of offensive, warns a ground invasion could be imminent - Fox News


Gaza wakes up to the devastation caused by 160 overnight Israeli airstrikes (PHOTOS) - Mail Online


Israeli army says the killing of 8 Gazan family members was in error - Haaretz


VIDEO: Israeli airstrikes pound Gaza overnight, death toll climbs - YouTube


VIDEO (English Subtitles): Statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the launch of Operation Protective Edge - YouTube


Israel's President Peres: Troops may go to Gaza 'quite soon' - CNN.com


VIDEO: Israeli President Shimon Peres speaks exclusively to CNN - CNN.com Blogs


Iron Dome: Israel's 'game-changing' missile shield Iron Dome - theguardian.com


VIDEO: Israel’s Iron Dome brings down a rocket fired by Hamas - YouTube


VIDEO: RAW: Iron Dome intercepts Hamas rocket over Israeli wedding - YouTube


VIDEOS: Footage of Hamas Cell Attempting to Infiltrate Israel by Sea, Hit By IDF Helicopter Strike - Washington Free Beacon


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Hamas unveils bigger and better rocket arsenal against Israel, reaching beyond Tel Aviv and Jerusalem - CSMonitor.com


Hamas's New Rocket Is Inaccurate. It's Also a Serious Upgrade - foreignpolicy.com


Iran connection: Why are Gaza rockets reaching so deep into Israel? (+VIDEO) - CSMonitor.com


A Growing Arsenal of Hamas Homegrown Rockets Encounters Israel’s Iron Dome - NYTimes.com


Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel appear to be indiscriminate which are war crimes, while Israeli attacks targeting homes may amount to prohibited collective punishment - Human Rights Watch


Hamas: Gaza massacre against women and children is an ugly war crime, all Israelis have now become legitimate targets - JPost


Hamas: We attempted to hit the nuclear reactor in Dimona - Israel News


Hamas sets conditions for truce - middleeastmonitor.com


Three Fatah Armed Groups in Gaza Also Firing Rockets Against Israel - gatestoneinstitute.org


Military wing of Fatah to Israel: 'Flee Our Country and You Won't Die’ (VIDEO) - Washington Free Beacon


Three Israeli teenagers who were abducted by Palestinians in the occupied West Bank last month were shot at least 10 times with a silenced gun: US official - Stuff.co.nz


-------------------------------------------------------

EU, US call for Israel and Hamas to exercise restraint, urge PM Netanyahu to keep a diplomatic channel open with Palestinians - Middle East Eye


Obama takes up pen, paper to fight for Israeli-Palestinian peace - Washington Times


Obama Op-Ed: Peace is the only path to true security for Israel and the Palestinians - Israel Conference on Peace | Haaretz


VIDEO: Press Briefing: White House concerned for 'safety of civilians' in Israel, Gaza - YouTube


Kerry in telephone diplomacy to help quell Mideast fire - AFP


White House Mideast chief Philip Gordon blasts Israel for denying Palestinians sovereignty and dignity, says that Abbas is committed to non-violence and cooperation with Israel - The Times of Israel 


TRANSCRIPT: Remarks as Prepared by White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region Philip Gordon at the Haaretz Israel Conference for Peace - The White House


A peace conference sponsored by the leftist Israeli newspaper Haaretz marred by disagreements - freebeacon.com


Egypt Urges Calm, But Won't Mediate Ceasefire - Arutz Sheva

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

US Culpability in the Failure of Israeli-Palestinian Peace Talks

By Stephen Zunes

The murder of three Israeli youth by unknown Palestinians and the less-publicized but equally tragic murder of three Palestinian youth by Israelis, along with Israeli bombing of urban areas in Gaza and the arrest and detention of hundreds of Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces, serves as a reminder that Israeli-Palestinian peace is still a long way off.

And the Obama administration deserves much of the blame for the failure of the latest round of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

It had originally been hoped that the United States would present a binding framework along the lines of what moderate Israeli and Palestinian political leaders had agreed to in unofficial talks in Geneva in 2003: Israel would recognize a Palestinian state based roughly on the pre-1967 borders with mutual territorial swaps, which would leave the Palestinians with 22 percent of historic Palestine and allow Israel to keep the remaining 78 percent; the Palestinian state would be demilitarized and all irregular militias disarmed; illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territory near the Israeli border —encompassing close to 80 percent of the settlers — would be incorporated into Israel while settlers in the more remote settlements would be required to return to Israel; there would be no right of return for Palestinian refugees to Israel, but there would be international assistance in helping them resettle in the new Palestinian state; and some Israeli troops would remain along border crossings between the Palestinian state and its Arab neighbors, eventually to be replaced by international forces.

The Palestinian government agreed to these terms. Israel rejected them. Rather than make public this framework, and thereby hope the Israeli public would pressure its right-wing government to compromise, the Obama administration instead insisted that "both sides" had shown a lack of will to compromise.

An interview with an anonymous U.S. official close to the peace talks in Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel's largest newspaper, confirmed numerous other reports that the Palestinian side made major concessions while the Israeli side essentially refused to make any, generally refusing to talk about any substantive issues.

A host of Democratic and Republican former officials — including a former national security adviser, secretary of defense, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, trade representative, and undersecretary of state for political affairs — went on record arguing that the Obama administration would have to challenge the Israeli government's hard line towards the Palestinians in order for the peace process to be successful. Unfortunately, the White House apparently had no interest in doing so.

Instead, Washington has focused on Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's refusal to give in to U.S. and Israeli demands that he recognize Israel as a "Jewish state." While the Palestinian government, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and the ruling Fatah party have all recognized the state of Israel for more than 20 years, the Obama administration has effectively moved the goalposts by declaring that recognizing the Israeli government, acknowledging its right to exist, and providing security guarantees is not enough, insisting that the Palestinians explicitly recognize the state of Israel's ethno-religious identity as well.

No previous administration has put forward such a requirement. President Carter never made such demands on Egypt, nor did President Clinton require this of Jordan as a condition for their peace treaties with Israel. Abbas has said that Israel can identify itself however it wants, but — given that 20 percent of the Israeli population is ethnically Palestinian Arab — it would be politically impossible to agree to something that would acknowledge second-class status for other Palestinians.

Never in history has any country been required to recognize the ethnic or religious identity of another state as a condition for peace. It appears, then, that the Obama administration's demand may have been an effort to destroy any chance of a peace agreement and leave an opening to blame the Palestinians — despite their agreement to virtually every other issue — for the failure of the peace process.

The Obama administration had been strongly pressured by Congressional supporters of the Israel's right-wing government, including area Congress members Sam Farr and Anne Eshoo, who supported a resolution calling on the president to push the Palestinians to recognize Israel explicitly "as a Jewish state." Meanwhile, a broad bipartisan effort is growing in the Congress to blame the failure of the peace talks exclusively on the Palestinians and to force the administration to cut all ties with the Palestine Authority.

Unless and until the Obama administration decides to end its unconditional backing for Israel's right-wing government and instead support Israeli and Palestinian moderates, there will be no hope for peace.

--end--

Stephen Zunes, a Santa Cruz resident, writes for PeaceVoice, is a professor of Politics and coordinator of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco.

Israel, Palestine and International Law

           As this is being written, Israel is once again bombing the Gaza Strip. There are a few key points that the U.S. government, and the populace, seem to constantly overlook:

·         Palestine has no army, navy or air force.

·         All of the borders of the Gaza Strip are controlled by Israel. Only goods and people that Israel allows can cross those borders, and the restrictions are extreme.

·         In the West Bank, occupied by Israel illegally in the eyes of the international community, Israel-controlled internal check points make the simple task of going to the market an hours-long ordeal.

Israel News - July 7, 2014


Six Jewish extremists arrested by Israel in killing of Palestinian teen - The Times of Israel


Palestinian teen burned alive to death, autopsy states - The Boston Globe


VIDEO: Dramatic new video footage shows Palestinian teen’s abduction - The Washington Post


Palestinian fury at Israel boils in funeral for slain youth - Reuters


VIDEO: Clashes Erupt In Jerusalem Amid Funeral For Palestinian Teenager - Fox News


Arson, Firebombs, Rocks and Rockets: 48 Hours of Terror Across Israel (VIDEOS) - Algemeiner.com


Israel Launches Airstrikes on Gaza Strip in Response to Rocket Fire (VIDEOS) - NBC News


Israeli air strikes kill seven Gaza gunmen, Hamas says - Yahoo News


IDF Officials Favor Ceasefire, "If Hamas would stop the rocket fire, then quiet will be maintained on our part" - Arutz Sheva


Abbas Pleads with Hamas to Stop Rocket Fire - Arutz Sheva


Israel shuts down main highways as clashes erupt across country - Haaretz


American Teen Tarek Released from Jail After Alleged Brutal Beating by Israeli Police - ABC News


VIDEO: Israel police brutally beat American teen Tarek Khdeir - YouTube


VIDEO: Palestinian teen Tarek speaks about his beating at the hands of Israeli police - YouTube


PHOTOS: Photos of American teen Tarek, before and after the brutal beating by Israeli Police - Twitter / WilliamsJon


State Dept. demands investigation into reports of teen's beating in Israel - TheHill


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Israel arrests suspected Palestinian accomplice in killings of 3 Jewish teens - Times of Israel


Dramatic recording of Jewish teen's emergency call before being killed, kidnappers can be heard yelling (AUDIO, TRANSCRIPT) - Times of Israel


The men Israel blames for the deaths of Israeli teenagers and their violent family history - The Washington Post


Accused kidnappers are rogue Hamas branch - Al-Monitor


Hebron branch of rogue Hamas wing has dark history - Al-Monitor


The Shocking Comment From the Mother of One of the Prime Suspects in Israeli Teen Abduction Case: "If he truly did it – I’ll be proud of him till my final day” - TheBlaze.com


PHOTOS: Israeli soldiers destroy kidnapping suspects' family homes in retribution attack - mondoweiss.net


VIDEO: Explosion Rocks Home of Israeli Kidnapping Suspect - NBC News


ISIS Already in Gaza Strip - gatestoneinstitute.org

 

To contact Bartolo email peaceloversingle_at_gmail.com (replacing _at_ with @)

War Stories: Bad Wars and the Voice of Disillusion

By John Grant

 

      When lo! An angel called him out of heaven,

      Saying, Lay not thy hand upon the lad, . . .

Racism: Alive and Well In the U.S. and Israel

            The media is reporting that three teenagers living in illegal Israeli settlements in Palestine are missing, and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated, on evidence he has not chosen to share, that they have been kidnapped by Hamas. In response, he has unleashed a new level of terrorism against Palestinians living in the West Bank, with mass arrests and a new level of harassment that is shocking even for his IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) terrorists.

            At this point the whereabouts of the three missing people is unknown; how and why they left, whether or not there is a criminal component and, if so, who is responsible, are also unknown. One hopes they are found safely. However, the outrage that Israel and the United States is demonstrating by this event is somewhat puzzling at best, and wildly hypocritical at worst.

Lessons on an Anniversary: When Israel Learned it Could Get Away With Murder

Leaving the USS Liberty Crew Behind

June 8, 2014

Editor Note:  Justifying the swap of Taliban prisoners for Sgt. Bergdahl, President Obama cited a principle of never leaving U.S. soldiers behind, but that rule was violated in the shabby treatment of the USS Liberty crew, attacked 47 years ago by Israeli warplanes.

By Ray McGovern

On June 8, 1967, Israeli leaders learned they could deliberately attack a U.S. Navy ship and try to send it, together with its entire crew, to the bottom of the Mediterranean – with impunity. Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty, a state-of-the-art intelligence collection platform sailing in international waters off the Sinai, killing 34 of the 294 crew members and wounding more than 170.

7000 times NO! Signatures against Italian cooperation with Mekorot delivered to mayor of Rome.

On Thursday, May 29, with 25 meters of signatures, the resounding NO to Italian cooperation with Israeli water company Mekorot was taken to Rome City Hall. The 7114 signatures on the petition against the agreement signed between Rome’s water utility ACEA and Mekorot snaked their way through the public square where a delegation of the Committee Against ACEA-Mekorot Cooperation and the Rome Coordination for Public Water delivered a copy to the office of mayor Ignazio Marino.  The petition calls on the city of Rome, the majority shareholder in ACEA, thus far silent on the issue, to take the necessary steps to block the agreement signed by the two companies.

Mekorot, Israel's national water company, is responsible for serious violations of international law. The company extracts water illegally from Palestinian water sources, in turn providing the stolen water to Israeli settlements built illegally in the occupied Palestinian territory, which could not exist without Mekorot. An artificial water shortage that concerns only the Palestinian people has been created by Israeli policies, implemented by Mekorot, while abundant water supplies flow to the swimming pools, lawns and intensive agriculture of the Israeli settlements. The Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq refers to this as "water apartheid," and organizations such as Amnesty International have stated that the purpose of these policies is to expel the Palestinians from their land.

On the Campidoglio Square in front of City Hall, where the movement for the right to housing was also protesting, activists noted that while the ACEA denies the fundamental right to water with cutoffs for those unable to pay their water bill, the company is now looking to go into business with those stealing water in Palestine in order to turn a profit on a common good.

Beyond Rome and Italy, the signatures on the petition also came from more than 60 countries around the world, including Israel. Just days prior, on May 25 a letter from Israeli citizens was sent to the City of Rome and ACEA demanding that all cooperation with Mekorot cease immediately. http://bdsitalia.org/index.php/comunicati-nomekorot/1252-boycott-from-withtin-no-mekorot-acea

Protests will continue on June 5 at 10:00 am during the ACEA annual shareholders meeting, where activists working to defend the fundamental right to water, from Rome to Palestine, will reaffirm, in addition to the calls for an end to the agreement with Mekorot, that there is no room for profits and private speculation on water and its management must be public.

No Committee Mekorot ACEA Agreement
Coordination Roman Public Water
fuorimekorotdallacea@gmail.com

Photos: 

http://bdsitalia.org/components/com_rsmediagallery/assets/gallery/800x599/9af6c8c8c692d0b86a67e3a3aeb48ecd.jpg

http://bdsitalia.org/components/com_rsmediagallery/assets/gallery/800x599/1d8615ef61064223b1017d02733c1953.jpg

http://bdsitalia.org/components/com_rsmediagallery/assets/gallery/800x599/7c291a8fda515575bbf4914b35b77b4f.jpg

Hillary Clinton: Not the Democratic Savior.

           


            The media is awash with information about a potential presidential run by Hillary Clinton. She has the overwhelming support of Democrats, unparalleled name-recognition, and the assurance of more money for her campaign than either candidate had in the historically-expensive Obama-Romney match-up of 2012. Her credentials – mastermind of her husband’s comeback campaign for Governor of Arkansas, former first lady, former senator from a heavily populated state, presidential candidate, former Secretary of State – look very impressive, if one doesn’t look too closely. However, it is high time one did so.

Palestine, Israel and the International Criminal Court

            It appears that the weak, spineless Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas may finally have realized that his place in history is not going to be assured by functioning only as the puppet of the U.S. and Israel. As the latest round of so-called peace talks, sponsored by the U.S. which has no interest in any real negotiations between Israel and Palestine, has crashed and burned, Mr. Abbas has applied to join fifteen international treaties and conventions, with others expected. All this, it is said, is merely a lead-up to joining the International Criminal Court (ICC), which could then investigate and charge Israel with war crimes.

Israeli Hypocrisy: Business as Usual

             On Sunday, April 27, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on U.S. television, denouncing progress made in reconciliation talks between Fatah, which ostensibly controls the West Bank, and Hamas, the democratically-elected government in the Gaza Strip.


            According to CNN: “Netanyahu said he and Secretary of State John Kerry recently applauded that some progress was being made toward a peace agreement. ‘And then the next day, we were both shocked,  there's no other word, we were absolutely stupefied that President Abbas embraced the terrorist organization Hamas that seeks Israel's destruction,’ he said on ‘Face the Nation.’”

Did Israel steal bomb-grade uranium from the United States?

Victor GilinskyRoger J. Mattson, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Last month the Interagency Security Classification Appeals Panel (ISCAP), the nation’s highest classification authority, released a number of top-level government memoranda that shed additional light on the so-called NUMEC affair, "the story that won't go away—the possibility that in the 1960s, Israel stole bomb-grade uranium from a US nuclear fuel-processing plant.”

Are Israelis Subject to the Rule of Law?

Istanbul, Turkey, March 25, 2014, "If they (Israeli officials) are not free to travel, if they can't go to their kid's graduations outside Israel, if they worry constantly about being arrested when they go to the UK or Spain or Argentina, then we have won half the victory,” stated the lawyer from Spain, Gonzalo Boye, at the one-day legal conference in Istanbul, Turkey sponsored by IHH.

His comments were made as attorneys from France, Turkey, Spain, South Africa and the UK discussed the ramifications of Israel’s attack on Freedom Flotilla I. The reports ranged from the status of criminal proceedings against the Israeli commandos as well as military and political leaders who attacked six civilian boats in international waters. There were also status reports on the Cormoros referral to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

“Even if the perpetrators of these crimes such as willful murder, torture, large scale appropriation of boats, money and personal possessions are not in Turkey, they can still be tried,” added Turkish attorney, Yassin Samli, as he spoke about the Turkish court issuing arrest warrants for Israeli defendants.

Dimitris Plionis, one of the organizers of the Greek ship to Gaza, remarked at the end of the seven-hour session, “It took two years for the first two boats to sail to Gaza and anther two years before the flotilla went. We made history on those voyages. Now, it’s time for the legal voyage to make history and hold Israel accountable for its actions.”

Universal jurisdiction allows states to claim criminal jurisdiction over an accused person regardless of where the alleged crime was committed, and regardless of the accused's nationality, country ofresidence, or any other relation with the prosecuting entity. Crimes prosecuted under universal jurisdiction are considered crimes against all, too serious to be limited to domestic jurisdiction

If any court finds the Israeli defendants guilty, an arrest warrant can be issued and names turned over to Interpol.

It’s now time to hold the Israeli military and government leaders liable. They will have to look over their shoulders for the rest of their careers. It may not becomplete justice for the nine murdered passengers and the 150 wounded on that bright May morning, but, as the lawyer from Spain said, "We intend to complicate their lives."

Greta Berlin, Co-Founder, the Free Gaza movement
Editor, Freedom Sailors
www.freedomsailors.com

Support Palestinians call for BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) campaign until Palestinian Human Rights are recognized by Israel.

Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate, called on the International community to be brave and support B.D.S. Campaign until the Israeli Government recognizes Palestinian Human Rights.

Mairead Maguire said:

‘The Palestinian narrative is a story of a prolonged occupation by Israel based on policies of Apartheid and racism, ongoing building on Palestinian land of Israeli settlements, house demolitions, and the continued denial by Israel of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.  Gaza, the largest open air prison in the world, of which Israel is its jailer as it holds the keys and totally controls all aspects of life of the people of Gaza.  One and a half million people in Gaza, mostly under 2l years of age, continue in the words of Israeli Professor and Academic, Jeff Halper, to be ‘warehoused’ by Israel with all rights being violated by Israel. The Gaza port has been closed for over 40 years, their airport destroyed and crossing into West Bank blocked.  The people of Gaza do not have the basic right to travel into the West Bank to visit relatives without passes from Israel, and students in Gaza are forbidden to travel to study outside Gaza.  These conditions mean that Gaza is still under occupation. The Israel policies of divide and rule, keeping Gaza and West Bank cut off from each other, ensures that neither human contact or real peace negotiations can take place, (as is evidenced by the fact that at the current Peace Talks presided over by US Secretary of State, John Kerry, Gaza palestinians (in which 40% of Palestinians live) are not represented at the negotiating table.)

 South African visitors to Palestine have described the situation of blockade, occupation, as far worse than anything they experienced under the South African Apartheid era. 

 Why has this desperate injustice perpetrated upon the Palestinians by Israeli Government Policies been allowed to go on for over 60 years, in spite of United Nations over 60 resolutions, calling on Israel to uphold International law, but continuing to be ignored by Israel? 

When anyone in International community is brave enough to articulate the facts of Israel’s repression of the Palestinian people they are bullied, threatened and accused of anti-Semitism.  This insidious practice by Israeli Government and its policy supporters has been very effective in silencing critique or debate on Israeli/US military and financial supported foreign policy, but also causes self-censorship by many concerned for their political and professional careers, or trading profits.  However, the Palestinian people take hope from those who are brave enough to take a stand, such as the Irish Trade Union Movement, Stephen Hawkins, Russell Tribunal on Palestine, and a growing international movement of support.

We all know the Jewish Narrative, particularly the story of the holocaust, but our sadness for this one of humanities greatest acts of inhumanity, should not stop us from speaking out on Israel’s current policy of a ‘silent genocide’ of the Palestinian people, and currently today of the people in Gaza.

The denial by Israel of Palestinian basic freedoms is not a natural humanitarian tragedy, it is an Israeli Government policy, in which many Governments, Media, Corporations, and Companies (such as Hewlett Packard and G4S who profit from the illegal occupation) are all complicit if not by supporting Israeli Government through funding, trading,etc., then by their  silence.

But, there is much we can all do.  The greatest hope we can give Palestinian people is to tell the Palestinian narrative, even at the risk of being called anti-Semitic.  This will give legitimacy to the Palestinian people and in time will force Israel to choose peace not land, as it has done for so long.   The Palestinian people have asked the International community to support their nonviolent BDS campaign (boycott, divestment and sanctions) and I applaud the recent actions of the Irish Academics in responding to this Appeal, and calling for a Boycott of Israel Universities, as indeed they are part of the system which upholds Apartheid and occupation by Israel.

Professor Falk, the UN special rapporteur for Palestine, who in his 6 years has often been refused entry into Palestinian territory, by Israel authorities, has recommended that UN member states should impose a ban on imports of products from Israeli settlements.  I hope many will follow his advice.

As a well supported International BDS campaign helped end Apartheid in South Africa, the Palestinian people believe, as do growing sections of the International Civil Community, that a similar International campaign will help end Israel’s denial of Palestinians human rights, freedom and peace.

MAIREAD MAGUIRE
NOBEL PEACE LAUREATE
PEACE PEOPLE

www.peacepeople.com

28th February, 2014

The Blind Alley of J Street and Liberal American Zionism

By Abba A. Solomon and Norman Solomon

Since its founding six years ago, J Street has emerged as a major Jewish organization under the banner “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace.” By now J Street is able to be a partial counterweight to AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The contrast between the two U.S. groups is sometimes stark. J Street applauds diplomacy with Iran, while AIPAC works to undermine it. J Street encourages U.S. support for “the peace process” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, while AIPAC opposes any meaningful Israeli concessions. In the pressure cooker of Washington politics, J Street’s emergence has been mostly positive. But what does its motto “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace” really mean?

That question calls for grasping the context of Zionism among Jews in the United States -- aspects of history, largely obscured and left to archives, that can shed light on J Street’s current political role. Extolling President Obama’s policies while urging him to intensify efforts to resolve Israeli-Palestinian conflicts, the organization has staked out positions apt to sound humanistic and fresh. Yet J Street’s leaders are far from the first prominent American Jews who have struggled to square the circles of the moral contradictions of a “Jewish state” in Palestine.

Our research in the archives of the American Jewish Committee in New York City, Johns Hopkins University and elsewhere shows that J Street is adhering to -- and working to reinforce -- limits that major Jewish organizations adopted midway through the 20th century. Momentum for creation of the State of Israel required some hard choices for groups such as the influential AJC, which adjusted to the triumph of an ideology -- militant Jewish nationalism -- that it did not share. Such accommodation meant acceding to an outward consensus while suppressing debate on its implications within Jewish communities in the United States.

In 1945, AJC staff had discussed the probability of increased bloodshed in Palestine -- and a likelihood of “Judaism, as a whole, being held morally responsible for the fallacies of Zionism.” In exchange for AJC support in 1947 for UN partition of Palestine, the AJC extracted this promise from the Jewish Agency: “The so-called Jewish State is not to be called by that name but will bear some appropriate geographical designation. It will be Jewish only in the sense that the Jews will form a majority of the population.”

A January 1948 position paper in AJC records spoke of “extreme Zionists” then ascendant among Jews in Palestine and the United States: The paper warned that they served “no less monstrosity than the idol of the State as the complete master not only over its own immediate subjects but also over every living Jewish body and soul the world over, beyond any consideration of good or evil. This mentality and program is the diametrical opposite to that of the American Jewish Committee.” The confidential document warned of “moral and political repercussions which may deeply affect both the Jewish position outside Palestine, and the character of the Jewish state in Palestine.” Such worries became more furtive after Israel became a nation later in 1948.

Privately, some leaders held out hope that constraints on public debate could coexist with continuing debate inside Jewish institutions. In 1950 the president of the American Jewish Committee, Jacob Blaustein, wrote in a letter to the head of an anti-Zionist organization, the American Council for Judaism, that the silencing of public dissent would not preclude discussion within the Yiddish-language and Jewish press. In effect, Blaustein contended that vigorous dialogue could continue among Jews but should be inaudible to gentiles. However, the mask of American Jewry would soon become its face. Concerns about growing Jewish nationalism became marginal, then unmentionable.

The recent dispute in the Jewish student group Hillel -- whether its leadership can ban Hillel chapters on U.S. college campuses from hosting severe critics of Israeli policies -- emerged from a long history of pressure on American Jews to accept Zionism and a “Jewish state” as integral to Judaism. The Jewish students now pushing to widen the bounds of acceptable discourse are challenging powerful legacies of conformity.

During the 1950s and later decades, the solution for avoiding an ugly rift was a kind of preventive surgery. Universalist, prophetic Judaism became a phantom limb of American Jewry, after an amputation in service of the ideology of an ethnic state in the Middle East. Pressures for conformity became overwhelming among American Jews, whose success had been predicated on the American ideal of equal rights regardless of ethnic group origin.

Generally flourishing in a country founded on the separation of religion and state, American Zionists dedicated themselves to an Israeli state based on the prerogatives of Jews. That Mobius strip could only be navigated by twisting logic into special endless dispensations for Jewish people. Narratives of historic Jewish vulnerability and horrific realities of the Holocaust became all-purpose justifications.

*****          *****          *****          *****

As decades passed after the June 1967 war, while the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza wore on, younger American Jews slowly became less inclined to automatically support Israeli policies. Now, 65 years after the founding of Israel, the historic realities of displacement -- traumatic for Palestinians while triumphant for many Jewish Israelis -- haunt the territorial present that J Street seeks to navigate.

The organization’s avowed goal is an equitable peace agreement between Israel and Palestinians. But J Street’s pragmatic, organization-building strength is tied into its real-world moral liability: continuing to accept extremely skewed power relations in Palestine. The J Street leadership withholds from the range of prospective solutions the alternative of truly ending the legally and militarily enforced Jewish leverage over Palestinians, replete with the advantages of dominance (in sharp contrast to the precept of abandoning white privilege that was a requirement in the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa).

Every conceptual lane of J Street equates being “pro-Israel” with maintaining the doctrine of a state where Jews are more equal than others. Looking to the past, that approach requires treating the historic Zionist conquest as somewhere between necessary and immaculate. Looking at the present and the future, that approach sees forthright opposition to the preeminence of Jewish rights as extreme or otherwise beyond the pale. And not “pro-Israel.”

Like the Obama administration, J Street is steadfast in advocating a “two-state solution” while trying to thwart the right-wing forces led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A goal is to reduce his leverage by altering the political environment he encounters in the United States, where AIPAC -- riding high astride much of the U.S. Congress -- is aligned with the hard right of Israeli politics. In contrast, J Street is aligned with a fuzzy center that copes with cognitive dissonance by embracing humane rhetoric about Palestinians while upholding subjugation of Palestinians’ rights.

At J Street’s 2011 conference, Rabbi David Saperstein congratulated the organization: “When the Jewish community needed someone to speak for them at the Presbyterian Convention against the divestment resolution, the community turned to J Street, who had the pro-peace credibility to stunt the efforts of the anti-Israeli forces, and they were compellingly effective. They did so at Berkeley on the bus ad fights, debating Jewish Voice for Peace.” Saperstein -- a Reform Judaism leader described by Newsweek as the USA’s most influential rabbi -- lauded J Street for its special function among “the strongly pro-Israel peace groups that have the credibility to stand before strongly dovish non-Jewish groups and guide them away from delegitimization efforts.”

Such praise for being a bulwark against “delegitimization” is a high compliment for J Street. And it is surely gratifying for its founder and president, Jeremy Ben-Ami. When he reaffirms “our commitment to and support for the people and the state of Israel,” he frames it in these terms: “We believe that the Jewish people -- like all other people in the world -- have the right to a national home of their own, and we celebrate its rebirth after thousands of years.” His official J Street bio says that “Ben-Ami’s family connection to Israel goes back 130 years to the first aliyah when his great-grandparents were among the first settlers in Petah Tikva [near present-day Tel Aviv]. His grandparents were one of the founding families of Tel Aviv, and his father was an activist and leader in the Irgun, working for Israel’s independence and on the rescue of European Jews before and during World War II.” Readers are left to ponder the reference to leadership of the ultranationalist Irgun, given its undisputed terrorist violence.

Whatever its differences with the Likudnik stances of AIPAC and Netanyahu, J Street joins in decrying the danger of the “delegitimization” of Israel -- a word often deployed against questioning of Jewish privileges in Palestine maintained by armed force. In sync with U.S. foreign policy, J Street is enmeshed in assuming the validity of prerogatives that are embedded in Netanyahu’s demand for unequivocal support of Israel as “the nation-state of the Jewish people.” In the process, the secular USA massively supports a government that is using weapons of war emblazoned with symbols of the Jewish religion, while the U.S. Congress continues to designate Israel as a “strategic ally.” An AIPAC official was famously quoted by Jeffrey Goldberg as boasting, “You see this napkin? In 24 hours, we could have the signatures of 70 senators on this napkin.”

J Street is aligned with more “moderate” personalities in Israeli politics, but what is considered moderate Zionism in Israel may not match sensibilities outside Israel. On a J Street-sponsored U.S. speaking tour, Knesset member Adi Koll said she is pleased that Palestinian refugees from 1948 are dying off, which she portrayed as good for peace: “This is what we have been waiting for, for more and more of them to die,” to finalize the War of Independence expulsion of Palestinians. J Street’s Ben-Ami has warned of “the ‘one state nightmare’ -- a minority of Jewish Israelis in a state with a majority of non-Jewish residents.” For J Street, an embrace of perpetual Jewish dominance as imperative seems to be a litmus test before any criticism of the occupation is to be deemed legitimate.

A human rights lawyer active with Jewish Voice for Peace, David L. Mandel, sees a double standard at work. “Too many progressives on everything else still are not progressive about Israel and Palestine,” he told us. “And J Street, by making it easier for them to appear to be critical, in fact serves as a roadblock on the path to a consistent, human rights and international law-based position.”

Covering J Street’s annual conference in September 2013, Mondoweiss.net editor Philip Weiss pointed out: “J Street still can claim to be a liberal Zionist organization that wants to pressure Israel to leave the settlements. But more than that it wants access to the Israeli establishment, and it is not going to alienate that establishment by advocating any measure that will isolate Israel or put real pressure on it.”

*****          *****          *****          *****

While evocations of the “special relationship” between the United States and Israel may sound uplifting, J Street ultimately lets the Israeli government off the hook by declaring that relationship sacrosanct, no matter what. The organization insists that political candidates funded by J StreetPAC “must demonstrate that they support a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, active U.S. leadership to help end the conflict, the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel, continued aid to the Palestinian Authority and opposition to the Boycott/Divestment/Sanction movement.”

The sanctity of the proviso about “the special relationship between the U.S. and Israel” became evident to one of us (Norman Solomon) while running for Congress in 2012 in California. After notification that J Street had decided to confer “On the Street” status on Solomon and another Democratic candidate in the primary race, the group’s leadership suddenly withdrew the stamp of approval -- after discovering a Solomon op-ed piece written in July 2006 that criticized Washington’s support for the Israeli bombing of Lebanon then underway. In a specially convened conference call, J Street’s top leaders told the candidate that one statement in the op-ed was especially egregious: “The United States and Israel. Right now, it’s the most dangerous alliance in the world.”

In December 2013, while visiting Israel, Secretary of State John Kerry affirmed that “the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable.” He added that -- despite occasional “tactical” differences -- “we do not have a difference about the fundamental strategy that we both seek with respect to the security of Israel and the long-term peace of this region.”

Two days later, on Dec. 7 at a Saban Center gathering in Washington, Kerry joined with President Obama in paying tribute to the idea of a nation for Jews. Obama endorsed the goal of protecting “Israel as a Jewish state.” (He sat for an interview with billionaire Zionist Haim Saban, who joked: “Very obedient president I have here today!”) For his part, Kerry addressed Israeli ethnic anxiety by urging that Israel heed U.S. advice for withdrawal from some territory, to defuse what he called the “demographic time bomb” -- non-Jewish births -- threatening the existence of a “Jewish and democratic” state.

Although “militant Islam” is common coin in U.S. discourse about the Middle East, militant Jewish nationalism lacks a place in the conversation. This absence occurs despite -- and perhaps because of -- the fact that militant Jewish nationalism is such a powerful ideology in the United States, especially in Congress. Yet recent erosion of the taboo has caused some alarm. In May 2011 the Reut Institute, well-connected to the Israeli establishment, held a joint conference with the American Jewish Committee and met with smaller organizations to formalize a policy of  “establishing red-lines with regards to the discourse about Israel between legitimate criticism and acts of delegitimization.”

In its own way, J Street has laid down red-line markers along the left perimeter of American Zionism. For instance, some of the most telling moments of J Street’s existence came during the November 2012 Gaza crisis. As the conflict escalated, Israel threatened a ground invasion. J Street urged Israeli restraint but did not oppose the ongoing intense bombardment of Gaza. Instead, echoing President Obama, the organization endorsed Israel's “right and obligation to defend itself against rocket fire and against those who refuse to recognize its right to exist and inexcusably use terror and violence to achieve their ends.”

J Street’s statement, titled “Enough of Silence,” eerily mirrored the brutal asymmetry of the warfare then raging -- and, for that matter, the asymmetry of the entire Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While far more Palestinians than Israelis were dying (87 Palestinian and four Israeli noncombatants lost their lives, according to a report from the human-rights group B’Tselem), J Street condemned the killing by Palestinians but merely questioned the ultimate efficacy of the killing by Israelis. While J Street was appropriately repulsed by the bloodshed, it could not plead for reversal of the underlying, continuing injustice beyond its advocacy of a two-state solution. During the years ahead, J Street is likely to be instrumental in establishing and reinforcing such red lines.

A rare instance when J Street has not endorsed President Obama’s approach in the Middle East came in September 2013, when the administration pressed for U.S. missile strikes on Syria following claims that the Bashar al-Assad regime had used chemical weapons. J Street remained officially silent on the issue; Jeremy Ben-Ami reportedly pushed for endorsement of an attack, but many others in the organization were opposed. The Forward newspaper quoted a J Street activist: “Jeremy is a pragmatist. He wants to keep us as progressive as possible without going too far from the mainstream.”

*****          *****          *****          *****

J Street is striving to support Israel differently than AIPAC: by fostering the more peaceful, humane streams of Zionism. But among new generations of U.S. Jews, the Zionist rationales for Israel as a whole are losing ground. In a 2013 Pew Research Center study, 93 percent of American Jews state they are proud of being part of the Jewish people -- but only 43 percent say that “caring about” the State of Israel is essential to being a Jew, and the figure drops to 32 percent of respondents under 30 years old.

The Jewish establishment has always represented those Jews choosing to affiliate with institutionalized Judaism. More and more, this leaves out large numbers who don’t believe that blood-and-soil Jewish nationalism should crowd out their Jewish and universalist values. As the Pew survey shows, American Jews are less sympathetic than American Jewish organizations to enforcing Jewish political nationalism with armed force.

Last summer, Ben-Ami told the New Republic: “We are advocating for a balance between the security needs of Israel and the human rights of the Palestinians. It is by definition a moderate, centrist place.” Ben-Ami highlighted his strategy for practicality: “We have the ear of the White House; we have the ear of a very large segment of Congress at this point; we have very good relations with top communal leadership in the Jewish community. If you want to have a voice in those corridors of power, then get involved with J Street.”

We recently submitted three questions to Ben-Ami. Asked about the historic concerns that a “democratic Jewish state” would be self-contradictory, he replied: “J Street believes it is possible to reconcile the essence of Zionism, that Israel must be the national homeland of the Jewish people, and the key principles of its democracy, namely, that the state must provide justice and equal rights for all its citizens. In the long run, Israel can only manage the tension between these two principles if there is a homeland for the Palestinian people alongside Israel.”

Asked whether relations with non-Jewish Palestinians would be better now if Jewish leaders who favored creation of a non-ethnically-based state had prevailed, Ben-Ami did not respond directly. Instead, he affirmed support for a two-state solution and commented: “History has sadly and repeatedly proven the necessity of a nation-state for the Jewish people. J Street today is focused on building support in the American Jewish community for the creation of a nation-state for the Palestinian people alongside Israel -- precisely because it is so necessary if Israel is to continue to be the national home of the Jewish people.”

The shortest -- and perhaps the most significant -- reply came when we asked: “Do you believe it is fair to say that the Israeli government has engaged in ethnic cleansing?”

Ben-Ami responded with one word. “No.”

“They have destroyed and are destroying ... and do not know it and do not want to know it,” James Baldwin wrote several decades ago. “But it is not permissible that the authors of devastation should also be innocent. It is the innocence which constitutes the crime.” Those who have seen to the devastation of “others” -- and have even celebrated overall results of the process -- cannot begin to atone or make amends without some genuine remorse. With a pose of innocence, in the absence of remorse, the foundation of J Street’s position is denial of the ethnic cleansing that necessarily enabled Israel to become what it is now, officially calling itself a “Jewish and democratic state.”

Population transfer of Arabs was part of the planning of Zionist leadership, and it was implemented. Benny Morris, the pioneering Israeli historian of the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Israel, said: “Ben-Gurion was right. If he had not done what he did, a state would not have come into being. That has to be clear. It is impossible to evade it. Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here.”

In a talk five decades ago at Hillel House at the University of Chicago, philosopher Leo Strauss mentioned that Leon Pinsker’s Zionist manifesto “Autoemancipation,” published in 1882, quotes the classic Hillel statement “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if not now, when?” -- but leaves out the middle of the sequence, “If I am only for myself, what am I?”

“The omission of these words,” Strauss said, “is the definition of pureblooded political Zionism.”

The full integrity of Rabbi Hillel’s complete statement -- urging Jews not to be “only for myself” -- is explicit in the avowed mission of J Street. But there is unintended symbolism in the organization’s name, which partly serves as an inside Washington joke. The absence of an actual J Street between I and K Streets is, so to speak, a fact on the ground. And sadly, the group’s political vision of “Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace” is as much a phantom as the nonexistent lettered street between I and K in the Nation’s Capital; unless “peace” is to be understood along the lines of the observation by Carl von Clausewitz that “a conqueror is always a lover of peace.”

________________________________

Abba A. Solomon is the author of “The Speech, and Its Context: Jacob Blaustein's Speech ‘The Meaning of Palestine Partition to American Jews.’” Norman Solomon is the founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy, cofounder of RootsAction.org and the author of “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.”

Addicted to the fruit of a poisoned tree: Thanks to George Bush, Talks with Iran Make Sense

By John Grant


US military history from Vietnam to Iraq and Afghanistan is too often a combination of destructive stumbling around followed by an effort to sustain and project forward the notion of US power and exceptionalism. To forge another narrative is very difficult.

Has the Idea of a Jewish State Become Obsolete?

By Winslow Myers

While John Kerry admirably shuttles around like the Energizer Bunny in search of Middle East peace, is there anything new to say about the intractable tension between Israelis on the one hand and predominantly Muslim peoples, especially the Palestinians, on the other?

One layer of the unspoken is Israel’s implicit status as a nuclear power.  Mr. Netanyahu and Mr. Obama draw red lines in the sand concerning the threat of Iranian nukes, but say little about the only viable long-term solution: a negotiated and verified nuclear-free zone in the Eastern Mediterranean—even better, a planet-wide nuclear-free zone. Nuclear war anywhere on earth has become more unthinkable as it has become more possible.

Also rarely spoken—lest howls of anti-Semitism ensue—is an uncomfortable question:  why do we frown upon the lack of separation of church and state in many Muslim countries, while Israel gets a pass in privileging a particular constellation of religion and ethnicity?

The historical rationale for the birth of the Jewish state could not be more reasonable. In the context of Jewish history over thousands of years climaxing in the Holocaust, no one could argue with Jewish fears of extinction and their need for a secure homeland.

Though all parties in the region ought to know from long experience how futile war, terror, obstruction, and discriminatory harshness are as tools to suppress the universal impulse toward justice, each keeps trying one or another unworkable method, making the success of Mr. Kerry’s quixotic mission all the more crucial.  

The present Israeli government derives its identity in large measure from fear of what it is against, and so it has encouraged injustices like the settlements that it would never tolerate were it a victim of similar treatment.

Obviously this is not to say that the anti-Semites of the Arab world are innocent. And it is unfair to compare the civil rights Israel has afforded non-Jews with the civil rights much of the Muslim world affords women and non-believers.  Israel does not order the execution of those who abandon Judaism.  However much it may wish to be even-handed, it sees its own Muslim population growing. If this population enjoyed full citizenship Israeli could eventually become a de facto Muslim state.  So it waters down Muslim civil rights to preserve its identity.  

As we express our hope that Arab countries (and even the U.S. itself) evolve toward a more inclusive and tolerant politics, it is worth asking if the maintenance of Israel as a Jewish state become counter-productive to its own long-term security? It is not that Zionism is racism, in the crude Arab formulation, but that Zionism has been transcended by the notion of a state relatively untethered to any one religion.

If the identity of Israel were re-established on the basis of equal rights for all ethnicities, ancient fears might begin to dissolve from within. The corrosive “us-and-them” dynamic could be undermined in a way that left Jews safer—just as Jews, while a minority in the United States, are surely as safe there, if not more so, as they are in Israel.  

For Israel to become a fully secular state, the international community would have to guarantee the security of Jews, whether inside or outside Israel, a task that for understandable reasons Israel has always zealously reserved for itself. Abdication of self-determined security is, to say the least, unlikely. Tragically however, maintaining a Jewish state will increasingly tie its citizens in knots as they are forced to choose between Jewish identity and full democracy.

Jews and Palestinians for the most part do not know each other as people, and the predictable theatrics of their leaders do nothing to help reconciliation. The entry point into a shared future beyond war is the face-to-face engagement of ordinary citizens at the heart level. It is people moving one by one from unfamiliarity, ignorance, and fear, toward familiarity, empathy, and enough trust to allow the heart to message the brain that it's safe to get creative together.

The moral basis of the secular state, the tolerance and compassion that flows from the acknowledgement of universal rights, is ironically a major premise of the Jewish ethical tradition. An unbeliever once asked Rabbi Hillel if he could sum up the Torah while standing on one foot. The simple answer was “What is hateful to yourself, do not to your fellow man. That is the whole of the Torah and the rest is but commentary.

One of the many gifts world civilization owes the Jews is this confidence in an ethical universality that transcends specific sects and ethnicities. If I identify as a Jew but also as citizen of secular democracy, I am better able to interact with Palestinians according to our common identity as humans. Finding ourselves in this shared human context, we will stand a measurably better chance of resolving our differences. To the extent that Jews allow themselves that larger identification with the “other,” they may not only come closer to fulfilling the ethical promise of their heritage, but also may find the security that has eluded them since the founding of the Jewish state. How poignant that after thousands of years of their culture contributing so much to the world, this idea should still feel so risky. Godspeed, Mr. Kerry.

Winslow Myers, author of “Living Beyond War: A Citizen’s Guide,” writes on global issues forPeaceVoiceand serves on the Advisory Board of the War Prevention Initiative.

Foreign Aid, the U.S. and Palestine

Foreign Aid, the U.S. and Palestine

Let us, for a moment, take a look at a part of the world where suffering is rampant. Here are some of the conditions the residents there experience:

-        Very limited potable water.

-        Electricity for six hours a day, at a maximum.

-        Children have to walk through areas destroyed by terrorist bombings to get to school. Many schools have been destroyed.

-        Unemployment is in the double-digits. It rose to 32.5% over the second quarter.

-        Food is lacking; few people have sufficient to eat, due to import restrictions.

The Red - Dead Seas Canal

this is a reposting of an article by Jamal Kanj contributed to www.news-beacon-ireland.info


 


The agreement for the two seas Canal connecting the Red and Dead Sea was summed up best by Israeli water minister Silvan Shalam who jubilantly described it following the December 9 signing ceremony at the World Bank headquarters as “a historic agreement that realises … the dream of (founder of modern Zionism Theodore) Herzl.”


 The canal was another strategic triumph for Israel’s conniving diplomacy even after the project was reduced to about one-tenth of its original size due to serious economic and environmental concerns raised by the World Bank.


 The Zionist-envisioned project was repackaged and sponsored by Jordan as a must to save the Dead Sea, and building a large desalination plant providing each Israel and Jordan with eight billion to 13 billion gallons of fresh water annually.

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