ETimes.com, 24 June 2010
“The lesson of South Africa is that the sports boycott helped change the old politics.” – Jim Murphy, Labour MP for East Renfrewshire.
“It is a question of boycotting racism, not sport, precisely in order to restore to sport all the magnanimity of its first purpose.” – Amadou Mahtar-M’Bow, Director -General of UNESCO to the International Conference on Sports Boycott Against South Africa in 1985.
“The sights in the territories even turn the stomach of someone who grew up under apartheid. The occupation reminds me of the darkest days of apartheid, but we never saw tanks and planes firing at a civilian population. It’s a monstrousness I’d never seen before.” – Ronnie Kasrils, South Africa’s minister for intelligence services in 2007.
“After four decades of Israeli occupation, the infrastructure and superstructure of apartheid have been put in place. Outside the never-never land of mainstream American Jewry and U.S. media, this reality is barely disputed.” – American academic Norman Finkelstein.
In 2007 the courageous Israeli journalist Gideon Levy travelled to South Africa to attend a UN peace conference, during the visit Levy, who writes for the Haaretz newspaper, met the country’s Jewish intelligence services minister, Ronnie Kasrils. Kasrils, who had personally visited the Occupied Territories, spoke of his dismay at what he saw as a grim history revisited: “When we saw on television the drama going on in your country, the oppressive pictures of the methods you use toward the Palestinians, the uprooting of trees, the tanks entering Jenin, and the old woman weeping over the demolition of her house and crying ‘The Jews, the Jews’ – it’s just like what my grandmother used to tell me about the pogroms: The Cossacks are coming, the Cossacks are coming. I’m trying to say: It’s not the Jews, it’s Zionism that’s doing this. So I decided to get up and say something. I found this in the Jewish tradition: to open your mouth, in the name of conscience.” Kasrils rightly recognised that the evils of Apartheid had not died out with the redemption of his own country, they were alive and flourishing in a nation he thought of as the Jewish spiritual home.
In 2002 another veteran anti-Apartheid campaigner voiced his distress after a visit to the Holy Land. In a speech at a US conference called Ending the Oppression, Archbishop Desmond Tutu informed delegates that what he had seen was Apartheid, nothing less. “It reminded me so much of what happened to us black people in South Africa,” he informed his audiance. “The humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about”. He continued: “Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon? Have they turned their backs on their profound and noble religious traditions?” The question eight years later may be considered rhetorical. Since Tutu visited the West Bank, Israel has undergone a dramatic and fundamental shift to the extreme right, allowing previous racist pariahs such as Avigdor Lieberman to crawl from under their rocks, slithering into the mainstream to occupy positions of high office; foreign minister in Leiberman’s case.
If you have never heard of him, a fellow rightist Zionist, Martin Peretz editor-in-chief of The New Republic, called Leiberman “a neo-fascist”, “a certified gangster” and “the Israeli equivalent of Jörg Haider”. Ophir Pines-Paz, the minister for science, culture and sport resigned when Leiberman’s party, Yisrael Beiteinu, was included by Olmert in his coalition government. Annoucing his resignation Pines-Paz declared: “The moment the government decided to allow the inclusion of Lieberman and his party, whose leaders are infected with racist and anti-democratic statements, I am left with no other choice.” Since then the grip of the extreme right on the Israeli political system has strengthened and Avigdor Lieberman is now surrounded by colleagues who seem determined to out-bid him in the political sewer race as they continually seek ways to strip Israel’s Arabs of their citizenship.
In case you doubt the nature of what is occurring in Israel, the Jewish journalist Peter Beinart gave a pretty reasonable summary in his article, “The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment” for the New York Review of Books. In the article Beinart condemned the blinkered defence of all Israel’s crimes by the main US Jewish organisations, and bemoaned the demise of traditional Jewish liberalism in Israel. “In Israel today, this humane, universalistic Zionism does not wield power. To the contrary, it is gasping for air, ” he declared in a rather understated way. “To understand how deeply antithetical its values are to those of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, it’s worth considering the case of Effi Eitam. Eitam, a charismatic ex–cabinet minister and war hero, has proposed ethnically cleansing Palestinians from the West Bank. ‘We’ll have to expel the overwhelming majority of West Bank Arabs from here and remove Israeli Arabs from [the] political system,’ he declared in 2006. In 2008, Eitam merged his small Ahi Party into Netanyahu’s Likud. And for the 2009–2010 academic year, he is Netanyahu’s special emissary for overseas ‘campus engagement.’ In that capacity, he visited a dozen American high schools and colleges last fall on the Israeli government’s behalf. The group that organized his tour was called ‘Caravan for Democracy.’”
On Leiberman, Beinart stated: “He wants to revoke the citizenship of Israeli Arabs who won’t swear a loyalty oath to the Jewish state. He tried to prevent two Arab parties that opposed Israel’s 2008–2009 Gaza war from running candidates for the Knesset. He said Arab Knesset members who met with representatives of Hamas should be executed. He wants to jail Arabs who publicly mourn on Israeli Independence Day, and he hopes to permanently deny citizenship to Arabs from other countries who marry Arab citizens of Israel.” In the past, despite Israel’s crimes, such policies would have remained on the lunatic fringe, now they are mainstream and championed by Government ministers. Often the Apartheid laws and regulations they seek to introduce are given a makeover just for appearances sake. One method is to disguise racist policies by reserving jobs and benefits for IDF veterans, this is a neat way of discriminating against Israeli-Arabs as very few serve in the Israeli armed forces. In March 2009 for example Israel Railways, a government company, sacked 40 low paid Israeli-Arab level-crossing monitors, stating that these jobs were now reserved for army veterans. The new employees were all Jewish.
To list the historic and growing discrimination faced by Arab-Israelis would take a book on its own, and that’s without even touching upon the horror in the Occupied Territories. Let’s suffice with a quick look at one area, housing. In the 2002 Jerusalem Letter article, Israeli Arabs: Expectations and Realities by Gerald B. Bubis, we can read: “The present ‘Master Plan’ of the Ministry of Housing for the next 20 years indicates that 700,000 new units are needed, of which 211,000 are in various stages of planning. Of those in the planning stage, 5,000 are intended for use by Arab families. Thus, if the plan is implemented, the Arabs who represent nearly 20 percent of the present population will receive barely 2 percent of the housing. The Israeli Arabs have received only one-third of 1 percent of the public housing built in the last quarter century.” Israel and its supporters claim no discrimination exists, yet the evidence is everywhere.
When faced with Apartheid in South Africa the progressive forces in many countries looked upon that which the bigots held dear and decided to target those institutions. Sport featured highly on the boycott list for good reason. A rogue state that is protected by powerful forces, as South Africa was until its Cold War credits ran out and as Israel is today, can learn through the instigation of popular campaigns that the adoption of evil does not come without cost. The sporting boycott certainly hurt the white community in South Africa and helped hasten the end of Apartheid, it definitely played its part in creating the pariah status of that nation and kept the issue of Apartheid in the headlines. We can do the same now with Israel and by doing so play a part in creating a better nation for all its people to live in peace without one race being granted special status over another.
Of course there are differences between South Africa and Israel, differences that make a sporting boycott of Israel not such an obvious no-brainer as a boycott of South Africa. For one thing the Boers did not have the same sympathy that the Jews justifiably generate due to The Holocaust, even though the Boers also suffered in concentration camps; losing 27,000 interred women and children during the 1899-1902 South African War – but since they were murdered by the British it’s ok and time to move on. Israel, and its external Zionist allies, realised long ago that The Holocaust can act as a shield for all its transgressions, and naturally the Zionists have milked the atrocity for all its worth. As part of this tactic they have promoted the myth of permanent victim status, to the point where the world’s fourth rated military power can claim with a straight face that a militia of no more than 5,000 with no heavy weapons of any kind poses a threat to its existence; and this is then believed by many.
Israel though may have overplayed its hand with The Holocaust, and with the routine hysterical policy of labelling anyone who opposes its crimes as anti-Semitic, or if they are Jewish, a “self-hater”. Even so, The Holocaust is still a powerful PR tool, and faced with such a monolithic stigma it is natural that a grim silence is chosen instead of a waved fist, natural but self-defeating. For by failing to confront the battery of Israel’s defamation tactics, such acts are strengthened and gain greater effect. As Jewish liberals such as Peter Beinart, Gideon Levy and Ben Richard Cramer (in his book “How Israel Lost”) point out, Israel needs to be saved from itself, from the forces of growing religious intolerance and extreme right wing politics that have turned the nation into a dark blot on the Middle East landscape. Israel does not benefit in the long run from progressives remaining silent due to respect for The Holocaust or fear of being stigmatised as anti-Semitic racists, nor does allowing one people to suffer because their oppressors suffered in the past make any kind of moral sense; two wrongs do not make a right. Silence in the face of injustice can never be excused, no matter what historical baggage is dragged onto the stage.
The necessity of a sporting boycott of Israel grows with each passing Apartheid law, each racist act by the Israeli state, after each and every flouting of international law and accepted tenet of human decency. A state such as Israel has no place in sport, and certainly no place in European football. By allowing Israel the succour of international respectability football is not adopting neutrality, it is not promoting the myth that politics and sport do not mix because it is taking a political stance. It is in fact confirming that Israel’s special status allows it to carry out such heinous activities without the fear of otherwise guaranteed international repercussions. In short there is no happy middle ground on this one, no fence to sit on. Israel is either confirmed in its untouchable state of psychopathic, racist bliss or it is informed of the unacceptability of its actions.
Israel’s crimes in Gaza and Lebanon are well known, equally well known, although clouded in a smokescreen of a massive IDF disinformation campaign, is the crushing of the Freedom Flotilla’s attempt to break the inhuman blockade of Gaza. Not only has Israel embraced extremism internally, it has also thrown off even the faint traces of restraint that governed its external behaviour. Israel now is a rogue state, protected from repercussions by the US and thus emboldened to further extremism. Well, repercussions are required, and if the US will not allow the international community to impose these through the UN (whose resolutions Israel flouts with impunity), then the international community must seek other ways to reign in Israel, and by doing so aid the forces of Jewish liberalism that oppose the extremism of Zionism. A sporting boycott of Israel is long overdue, a start can be made by removing Israel from both European national and club competitions. It will not in itself bring about change, but as we witnessed with Apartheid South Africa, it will certainly play its part.
- The article was first published at ETimes.com
Stuart Littlewood, 23 June 2010
The new line-up at Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office looks like this:
Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs – William Hague
Minister of State – Jeremy Browne
Minister of State – David Lidington
Minister of State – Lord Howell of Guildford
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Henry Bellingham
Parliamentary Under Secretary of State – Alistair Burt
Hague has been a Friend of Israel since the age of 15. Burt is an officer of the Conservative Friends of Israel. Naturally he’s in charge of Middle East affairs. Lidington also frolics with the Israel flag wavers.
Before his elevation to the House of Lords Howell was MP for Guildford, in the south of England. His daughter is Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s wife.
Here is Howell in action in a House of Lords debate on the Free Gaza flotilla a couple of weeks ago…
Lord Howell – My Lords, the United Kingdom is in regular contact with the Israeli and Palestinian Governments and our international allies regarding the current humanitarian situation in Gaza and the wider issues relating to the peace process. As my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary said… it is essential that there should be unfettered access to Gaza, not only to meet the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza but to enable reconstruction of homes and livelihoods and permit trade to take place.
Lord Campbell-Savours (Labour) – My Lords, in the face of threats to intervene and break the blockade by Iranian Revolutionary Guard naval units, why cannot the United Kingdom Government announce that they are prepared to challenge the blockade by providing a naval escort for a flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian aid into Gaza, aid which has been given prior clearance by the European Union in the way that Bernard Kouchner has suggested? Would that not be a far better way to proceed? The Israeli Government are far more likely to heed that kind of initiative.
Lord Howell – I recognise the noble Lord’s strong feelings on this matter, but we simply do not think that that is the right way to proceed. We think that the right way is for the restrictions and the so-called blockade to be lifted beyond the present arrangements, by which some humanitarian supplies get in but not enough. We think that the right way forward is to put maximum pressure on Israel to do that. That is the sensible way forward…
Lord Hylton (Crossbench) – I agree entirely with the Minister about unrestricted access to Gaza, but are there not immediate questions to be discussed with the Government of Israel concerning the ships themselves, their cargoes, now under arrest, and possibly the personal possessions of persons who have been arrested?
Lord Howell – I cannot answer the noble Lord on the personal possessions issue. With regard to the humanitarian goods on these ships, the idea is that they should be shipped on into Gaza. However, unfortunately, it appears that the Hamas group has not been very keen on accepting all that aid at the moment. But that is the procedure that the Government of Israel are trying to adopt in the face of attempts to run the blockade or break the restrictions, which are apparently to be promoted by a number of countries, including some of the Iranian authorities.
Baroness Ramsay of Cartvale (Labour) – Does the Minister agree that, while there is a great need to improve the access for aid and commercial goods into Gaza, it still requires any new regime allowing new materials into Gaza to take great care not to allow in weapons that might be used against Israel?
Lord Howell – The noble Baroness is absolutely right. This is the dilemma. Israel does have the right to restrain the import of weapons, bombs and so on into the control of Hamas. At the same time, we all want to see the sufferings of the people of Gaza minimised and the maximum supplies of food, building materials, medical supplies and so on imported into Gaza. That is the dilemma that must be solved. The right way forward is along the lines proposed, with pressure on Israel to do that rather than creating some head-on conflict with Israel when it is the country with which we need to co-operate to achieve the two-state solution that we all want to see.
Lord Dykes (Liberal Democrat) – In the mean time, my Lords, will my noble friend confirm that the peace talks and the proximity talks are proceeding apace, despite the continuing weakness of the quartet mechanism, which is deeply disappointing to all observers? Will he reassure us that the sinister rumours that George Mitchell is less than even-handed between Israel and Palestinian lobbies are not true?
Lord Howell – I can give that reassurance…
Lord Anderson of Swansea (Labour) – The Minister must recognise that Israel has legitimate security concerns and cannot be expected to allow unfettered access. How, then, do the Government respond to the specific proposal from Bernard Kouchner that the European Union offers to provide some form of border monitoring for material entering Gaza to ensure that it is only for humanitarian purposes?
Lord Howell – There may well be something in that idea. Of course there is the other border on the Egyptian side, which was open temporarily and has now been closed. All these matters are to be pursued to see whether we can find that key reconciliation between the need to end the suffering of the people of Gaza and Israel’s legitimate security concerns.
The Bishop of Bath and Wells – My Lords, while I recognise the appropriate need for Israel to be protected, the issue of building materials in relation to the people of Gaza is nevertheless important, given the recent campaign against Gaza involving bombing and the destruction of houses. What can Her Majesty’s Government do in the interim to encourage the Israeli Government to allow building materials to go into that country? Surely they are fundamental to the humanitarian effort.
Lord Howell – The answer has to be that maximum pressure and encouragement must be placed on the Government of Israel to do what is actually in their own interest, which is to minimise the restrictions, to lift the blockade as far as they can consistent with their security and to continue to expand the amount of provisions already going into Gaza from Israel as well as from Egypt. That is the way forward and we should not be deflected from it.
He veers from saying there should be unfettered access to Gaza to saying the blockade should be lifted only as far as it suits Israel’s “security”. He thinks pressure on the Israeli government rather than action will work when decades of experience tells us it won’t. He fails to understand how Israel sees its own interest. He says Israel has the right to “restrain” the importation of weapons. Is he sure about that? I don’t think he knows international law or the UN Charter or the Geneva Conventions as well as he should. Palestinians, as an illegally occupied people, have a right to take up arms to defend themselves.
And why can’t he make it his business to answer the simple question about the personal property of British nationals stolen by the Israelis on the high seas?
Eighty per cent of Conservative MPs are claimed to be signed-up Friends of Israel. Now, for your entertainment, let’s see how their website reports a recent House of Commons debate on Middle East Policy …
• Conservative MPs voice support for Israel in House debate on Middle East Policy.
• On Monday, the Government held a debate in the House of Commons on UK policy towards the Middle East.
• The debate was well attended by Conservative MPs, and provided an excellent opportunity for MPs discuss events surrounding the flotilla incident of Monday 31 May, as well a wider issues of the Middle East Peace Process.
• Israel received positive support from a number of Conservative MPs, with many contributors displaying a considerable understanding of the wider issues at play in the region such as the Iranian smuggling of arms into Gaza, Hamas ideology of violence and the need to bolster the moderate Palestinian Authority.
• Alistair Burt MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, led the debate for the government and presented an even-handed case, whilst expressing support for Israel.
• Alistair Burt began by reassuring the House that the government would “engage with as much energy as we can in the Middle East Peace Process” to bring about a lasting two-state solution to resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict.
“The only long-term solution to the conflict is a secure Israel living alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state. We will continue to press for progress, working with the US and through the EU, while supporting Prime Minister Fayyad’s work to build the institutions of a future Palestinian state… The UK is a committed friend of Israel and a friend to the region”.
• Re-stating the government’s resolve to continue pressuring Iran to end her nuclear programme, Burt welcomed the UN Security Council resolution recently passed.
“We remain resolved to address concerns through a twin-track process of preventing a nuclear-weapons-capable Iran while reaching out with an offer for constructive engagement. We cannot allow Iran to act with impunity”.
• CFI’s Parliamentary Chairman and Chairman of the Defence Select Committee, Rt Hon James Arbuthnot MP presented an authoritative account of Israel’s predicament and began by praising Israel for embodying many of the values that exist with Britain.
“Everyone in this House should have an interest in Israel, because it is a country that embodies the values that we should stand for. Israel [has] become a bastion of the rule of law, democracy, free speech, business enterprise and family values. If that is not what this country also stands for, I am disappointed.”
• Applauding “Israel’s determination to stand up for its continued right to exist in peace and security”, Arbuthnot lamented at the difficult position Israel faces as a result of Hamas’ belligerency.
“When peace is destroyed by Hamas kidnapping Gilad Shalit and continuing to hold him prisoner for years, nobody should expect Israel just to accept it. When that peace is destroyed by rocketing from Gaza, nobody should expect Israel to say, ‘Yes, flotillas can be allowed to import whatever they like into Gaza, including perhaps explosives and rockets’.”
• James Arbuthnot also spoke of Israel’s difficulty in preventing smuggling of weaponry into Gaza, citing the case of Karine A.
“On one ship, the Karine A, which was not involved in this convoy, the Israelis found tons of weapons for Hamas. Were they simply to assume that this particular flotilla contained no such weapons to be used by Hamas against both Israel and the population of Gaza, whom Hamas treats so cruelly? Surely not. So obviously the flotilla was going to be stopped and boarded”.
• James Arbuthnot also cited the fact that Israel’s military had not sought violence, as seen by the peaceful boarding of five of the six flotilla ships.
• He noted that the flotilla was a deliberately calculated attempt to create publicity and that violence resistance aboard the Mavi Marmara had been premeditated.
“Given that the flotilla was designed to be provocative and to end in violence, we should not blame Israel for the violence against which it failed to guard itself; the blame lies with those who went on to the flotilla expressly seeking martyrdom.”
• Bob Blackman MP assessed the problematic role of Hamas, which presents a considerable obstacle to not only the peace process, but progress for the Palestinian people.
“We are challenged on the position of humanitarian aid, yet the state of Israel allows some 15,000 tonnes per week of humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. However, there is the role of Hamas: it holds up the aid. It uses it as an incentive to control the people of Palestine, and as a means of repression. Until it ceases its repression, the people of Palestine will not see the benefit of having a properly, democratically elected Government who truly represent them.”
• Bob Blackman urged the House to be clear on the dangers of negotiating with Hamas without pre-conditions.
“It is very difficult to negotiate with people whose fundamental aim is to destroy one’s Government and one’s very being”.
• Lastly, Nick Boles MP gave the House a fascinating speech on Israel’s excellent record of democracy, freedom and human rights.
“In Israel, Israeli Arabs have always had all rights-the same as Israeli Jews-except for one: they do not have to serve in the armed forces, because the state of Israel recognises that it would be unfair to set them against their Arab brothers. However, they can vote and be elected, and many have been. There is even an Arab-Israeli serving on the Supreme Court in Israel… Israel is an oasis in a desert-an oasis of freedom, democracy and human rights in the Middle East”.
• Robert Halfon MP was not called upon by the speaker but had prepared a fantastic speech, which he has since published on his online blog.
The whole thing can be seen here at where you’ll also find the comical “Israel’s legitimate right to impose the blockade”.
I offer no comment other than to say that Mark Regev, Israel’s propaganda specialist, must be exceedingly proud of his pupils. They now speak it fluently. Readers with only the slightest knowledge of the situation in the Holy Land will be aching with laughter and howling in derision at the tosh these stooges put around.
Yes, the Knesset has come to Westminster.
Let’s end with Halfon, the former political director of Conservative Friends of Israel, who is especially well versed. Here’s a flavour of that “fantastic” speech he so wanted to make:
• In 2005 when Israeli PM Ariel Sharon oversaw Israeli withdrawal from every inch of the Gaza Strip…
• Gaza has become a terrorist state. Over 5,000 missiles have been fired into Israel since Hamas takeover in June 2007. Terrorists continue to infiltrate Israel from Gaza to execute brutal terror attacks. Weapons and explosives – supplied by backers Iran and Syria – are continuously smuggled into the Strip to be used against Israeli citizens and territory. This sort of situation is untenable. No country can be expected to live under this sort of pressure.
• It must be noted that 5 of the 6 ships were peacefully intercepted and safely docked at the Israeli port of Ashdod without incident. Unfortunately, a significant minority of ‘activists’ on the Mavi Marmara reacted with extreme violence to the Israeli military personnel… it has become apparent that these ‘activists’ had prepared for violence by accruing various weapons, amongst which were knives and sharpened metal bars.
• Security footage on the boat shows these men preparing their ambush and television images have shown these same individuals chanting horrific anti-Semitic songs. Before the incident, various spokesmen for the flotilla stressed that the intention was to make a political statement and “break the siege” rather than delivering the aid itself.
• Flotilla or no Flotilla, blockade or no blockade, we must never forget that Israel, a democratic state, is battling for its survival against an enemy that seeks its destruction. The West faces the same enemy on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. A free and just Palestinian State and a secure Israel will only come about, when these terrorist movements have been vanquished…
Every line a gem. Vintage Regev…almost.
- Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation. For further information please visit www.radiofreepalestine.co.uk.
Contrary to reports,
Helen Thomas never said the word “Jews”
Former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer
reportedly helped orchestrate attack
Whenever Israel commits yet another atrocity, its defenders are quick to redirect public attention away from the grisly crime scene.
Currently, there are headlines about allegedly anti-Semitic comments made by senior White House correspondent Helen Thomas. Pundits across the land evince outrage at her off-the-cuff 25-second statement made to a man who appears to be holding a camera right in her face.
Thomas issued a public apology for her words, but this was insufficient to assuage the wounded feelings of powerful antagonists, and she has now retired from a long and distinguished career.
Before we examine her comments and evaluate their possible validity, let’s look at other recent events having to do with Israel.
On May 31st Israeli commandos killed at least nine unarmed volunteers attempting to take humanitarian supplies to Gaza.
According to eyewitness reports and forensic evidence, many of these aid volunteers were shot at close range, including a 19-year-old American citizen killed by four bullets to the head and one to the chest fired from 18 inches away.
Israel immediately imprisoned eyewitnesses and hundreds of other aid participants, confiscated their cameras, laptops, and other possessions, and prevented them from speaking to the press for days. Among the incarcerated were decorated U.S. veterans and an 80-year-old former ambassador who had been deputy director of Reagan’s Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism.
When they finally emerged and were able to tell their stories, many described horrific scenes of Israeli commandos shooting people in the head, of those tending the injured being shot in the stomach, of people bleeding to death while flotilla participants waved white flags and pled for help.
They also described being beaten brutally by Israeli forces, again and again – including those on ships that, in the U.S. media’s judgment, experienced “no violence.” A 64-year-old piano tuner from California, Paul Larudee, described hundreds of Israeli commandos boarding his ship. When he refused to cooperate with them, soldiers then beat him numerous times both on board the ship and after he was imprisoned on land.
Eventually he was taken by ambulance to an Israeli hospital. He wasn’t treated, however, and Larudee believes he was taken there because Israel didn’t want media to see his black eye, pronated joints, bruised jaw and body contusions.
Marine veteran Ken O’Keefe described similar beatings while in Israeli custody. In his case, the public was able to see his bloodied, battered face in video clips and still images – but only on the Internet, since American mainstream media failed to report on his press conference or to publish the many still photos of his injuries.
Other gruesome photos available to the American public only on the Internet are of Emily Henochowicz, a 21-year-old American student whose eye and eye socket were recently shattered by Israeli forces. She has since had her eyeball removed, three metal plates inserted in her face, and her jaw wired shut.
Henochowicz was not on the flotilla; she was taking part in a nonviolent demonstration against the Israeli assault when an Israeli soldier shot a high-velocity teargas canister into her face.
A Swedish citizen standing with Henochowicz said, “They clearly saw us. They clearly saw that we were internationals and it really looked as though they were trying to hit us. They fired many canisters at us in rapid succession. One landed on either side of Emily, then the third one hit her in the face.”
Henochowicz is not the first to have been shot by such a canister.
Thirty-year-old Basem Ibrahim Abu Rahmeh died when an Israeli soldier shot one at him while Abu Rahmeh participated in a demonstration against Israeli confiscation of Palestinian farmland. A video of this is also available on You Tube; U.S. networks have also chosen not to broadcast this.
Californian Tristan Anderson was shot in the head by a similar canister while he was taking photographs following another demonstration. Part of Anderson’s brain was removed and he was in a “minimally responsive state” for 6-7 months.
He is now in a wheelchair, has almost no movement in his left arm and leg, is blind in one eye, and his mental functioning is significantly reduced. Photos of the shooting are also available on the Internet.
Since at least 2006 Israeli forces have closed off Gaza to the outside world, essentially imprisoning 1.5 million men, women, and children, and denying them foodstuffs, medicines, and building materials, as documented by such agencies as Amnesty International, Oxfam, and Christian Aid, which said that Israel was using food and medicine as weapons.
One of the multitudinous victims of this illegal siege is five-year-old Taysir Al Burai, who suffers from an acute neurological disorder and requires round-the-clock care. According to the UK Guardian, he could be cured if Israel would allow him to leave Gaza, but to date his parents’ repeated requests have been denied.
Another victim is 7-month-old Mohammad Khader, whose swelling in the brain required specialized treatment unavailable in Gazan hospitals depleted by the Israeli siege. His distraught parents’ applications asking Israel to allow them to travel abroad were similarly denied. Their tiny son died a few days ago.
Such stories go on and on.
Thomas’s “outrageous” statement
Yet, the rage we see in the U.S. media is directed against none of this. People shot in the head, eyes and brain parts destroyed, the elderly beaten, small children and infants caused to suffer and die, parents to grieve – none of this has caused a hint of anger. In fact, most of it has been considered of too little importance even to report.
Instead, media reports are filled with outrage at “anti-Israel” words spoken by 89-year-old Helen Thomas.
In Thomas’s lifetime Israel has ethnically cleansed over a million people, replaced them with colonists from around the world, committed dozens of massacres, tortured thousands of people, killed and maimed untold numbers of children, mangled limbs, and committed outrages on women, old people, the weak and the infirm.
It has assassinated people throughout the world, invaded numerous countries, spied on the U.S., killed and injured 200 American servicemen (the anniversary is this week), and tortured and imprisoned Americans. All while receiving more American money than any other country on earth.
For years, long before her recent words, Thomas has been the target of Israel’s vicious American volunteers, the Zionist blogosphere abounding with nasty slurs on her looks and her Lebanese ancestry, this latter also consistently emphasized by the media, despite her Kentucky birth and upbringing.
One of the reasons for the ferocious animosity toward her is the fact that Thomas is one of the very few mainstream reporters to challenge the neocon engendered lies that led the U.S. into wars that have caused massive death, destruction and tragedy and to continue to expose ongoing policies of violence and cruelty.
As the same groups and individuals who pushed the US into attacking Iraq have in recent years been escalating their efforts to push the U.S. to now similarly decimate Iranians under the pretext that Iran might be developing nuclear weapons, Thomas’s questioning attempted to elicit from Obama the fact that Israel already posses nuclear weapons. While the rest of the press corps has conspired in the cover-up of this fact and others, Thomas worked to expose them.
It is useful to examine the video and context of Thomas’s allegedly “anti-Semitic” comment.
A man, apparently holding a camera right in her face, asks for her comments about Israel. She says, “Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. Remember, these people are occupied. And it’s their land…” He interrupts her and asks where they should go. She responds, “They should go home. To Germany, Poland, America, and everywhere else.”
While Thomas has since apologized for her hasty words and many Israelis have the right to continue living where they are, the reality is that Israeli settlers did, indeed, come from elsewhere; they are, in fact, illegally occupying Palestinian land (a fact acknowledged even by the U.S. State Department); and international law does require that they leave.
Many commentators evince particular anger at Thomas’s inclusion of Germany and Poland as places to which Israeli colonists should return, suggesting that Hitler is still in control and waiting to pounce.
The happy fact is, however, that World War II and the Nazi holocaust ended well over half a century ago. In Poland today there is a vibrant Jewish revival with a 10-foot tall Menorah being lit in the center of Warsaw during Hanukah, and Germany has become, according to the New York Times, “a country where Jews want to live.” In fact, in recent years more Jews have chosen to immigrate to Germany than to Israel.
Thomas’s call for colonists to return to America (this destination was left out of many articles) is far from outrageous given that a great many West Bank settlers are from the U.S.
Overall, reporting on the incident has largely departed from the standard journalistic practice of quoting people from both sides of an issue. Quotes from Thomas supporters are missing, even though the You Tube page featuring the infamous video contains a large number of comments supporting her. In contrast, quotes from Thomas’s detractors, almost all of them Zionists, are ubiquitous, but generally fail to divulge the speakers’ frequent conflicts of interest.
For example, the Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz quotes Jeffrey Goldberg without mentioning that Goldberg is an Israeli citizen who served as a prison guard at an Israeli prison that held hundreds of Palestinians without charge, some killed in cold blood by the prison commander.
Mainstream media organizations do not seem to have investigated reports that the man who videotaped Thomas, Rabbi David Nesenoff, also made an offensive video featuring himself and another man impersonating a buffoonish Catholic priest and Mexican immigrant.
Similarly, news reports that a high school had disinvited Thomas as a graduation speaker almost never inform readers that many of the school’s parents and students wished Thomas to remain, even though this unreferenced group may represent a majority of the school. Members of this group have created a Facebook page, “Helen Thomas should have been our graduation speaker,” that states:
“The purpose of this group is to quietly but firmly protest the ability of a small minority to impose its will on the larger group through engaging or threatening to engage in disruptive discourse. This group affirms a belief in reasonable discussion and feel that in this scenario, a clear minority was able to override a larger majority by distorting the issues and discussion.”
Replacing Thomas at the upcoming graduation ceremony will be CBS’s Bob Schiefer, who has close family ties to George W. Bush and has rarely, if ever, challenged administration falsehoods that sent the nation to war and that keep it there still.
Regarding his reporting on Israel-Palestine, media watchdog Fairness and Accurate In Reporting (FAIR) issued an alert in 2006 objecting to Schiefer’s “shallow, dismissive coverage of complicated and tragic events.”
It is not known who will take over Thomas’s front-row seat at White House briefings. Given the record of the current press corps, it is likely that Israel partisans are breathing a sign of relief.
One more obstacle to the Zionist juggernaut has just been removed.
* Additional information has come to light about Ari Fleischer’s significant role in initiating and orchestrating the attacks on Thomas. According to Washington Post blogger David Weigel, Fleischer emailed numerous journalists about the video and gave quotes to anyone who asked, “a simple gesture that poured rocket fuel on the story.”
* Nessenoff has removed his original video from You Tube. He has now posted a longer version on his website:
Jayne Gardener, June, 10th, 2010
I always used to wonder what it was about Jews that made people throughout history despise them. If they were indeed “God’s chosen” I thought, they had to be the unluckiest people in the history of the world.
Why were they persecuted throughout history?
Why had the Nazis herded them into cattle cars and taken them to “extermination camps” to dispose once and for all of the “Jewish problem?”
I suddenly recognized that if Hitler had developed a “Final Solution” to the Jewish question, that there had to have been a “Jewish Problem.” Could the Jews have in any way behaved in such a manner that would make the countries in which they resided turn against them, or were they just unfortunate, innocent victims?
I set out to find answers for my questions, mainly turning to the Internet, but also reading various books on the subject. What I found became increasingly disturbing to me.
I had not known that throughout history, the Jews had been expelled from 79 countries, some countries more than once.
I had not known that many of the claims they made about the Holocaust that I had believed unquestioningly for so long were in fact fraudulent.
The books I had read and the movies I had seen about the “Holocaust” and wept over were nothing but thinly veiled attempts to garner unwavering sympathy for the state of Israel and an excuse to extort billions of dollars from Germany and 1.25 billion dollars from the Swiss banks.
I discovered that a book I had read many times as a teenager and cried about, Anne Frank’s Diary, had been at least partially written by someone other than Anne Frank.
I learned that the confessions at the Nuremburg Trials and the executions of so many German “war criminals” were extracted under torture and the defendants were being tried, judged and condemned by their very accusers.
I learned about the “false flag” operations, especially the Lavon affair and the tragedy of the USS Liberty, an American ship that was attacked by the Israelis during the 1967 war. 34 young American men were killed and many more wounded.
To add insult to injury, the Israelis claimed that it was simply an unfortunate case of mistaken identity, something the survivors of the Liberty have always vehemently denied. They, however, were threatened with court martial if they were ever to tell their stories.
I learned about the Jonathan Pollard spy case and other incidents of Israeli Jews spying against their supposed “closest ally.”
I became shocked and horrified as I learned about the treatment of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories at the hands of the Israeli Defense Forces and the Jewish settlers. Israel purports to be the only democracy in the middle east, but it’s only a democracy for Jews. Non-Jews are not considered equal.
I was saddened to see pictures of innocent Palestinian children burned beyond recognition or suffering from serious gunshot wounds after being targeted by the IDF for no other reason than that they are Palestinian.
I found out about the Jewish history of avariciousness, larceny, lying, manipulation and their questionable and usurious business practices.
I learned about their roles in the radical homosexual movement, the radical feminist movement, the pornography industry as well as their over-representation in the abortion industry.
I discovered their role in organized crime, in the slave trade, in the civil rights movement and in Communism, an ideology that is responsible for the deaths of untold millions and the repression of many millions more.
I learned that it was Jewish supremacists behind the war against Christianity and Christmas. It is they who want God out of the Pledge of Allegiance and all symbols of Christianity removed from public life.
They have driven Christianity from the public schools despite Christianity being the majority religion.
They have taken Christmas out of the public school calendar despite the fact that it is a statutory holiday and it is named Christmas.
I read about the anti-Gentilism and hatefulness of the Babylonian Talmud and their utter disrespect for, and hostility towards Jesus Christ, the Virgin Mary and Christianity and Christians in general.
I learned about their “chutzpah” in claiming that Gentile lives were worth no more than the lives of barnyard animals but that they considered Jewish lives to be akin to God Himself. It’s okay to steal from a Gentile or to kill a Gentile, but Jewish lives are sacred.
I learned of their control of the majority of wealth, the media and academia despite them making up less than 2% of the population (even lower in Canada).
They are behind the ridiculous political correctness movement and hate crime legislation that was drafted so as to silence anyone who might figure out their agenda and attempt to shed light on it.
Men like German Rudolf, David Irving and many more, previously recognized as great historians, were arrested, charged with hate crimes and incarcerated simply for having made academic inquiry into a specific period of history.
Other so called “revisionists” or “holocaust deniers” have been intimidated, harassed, assaulted and smeared simply for trying to get at the truth.
It is patently clear that the war in Iraq is due solely to Israel wanting to hobble her enemies by destabilizing their governments in order to achieve hegemony in the middle east.
It would be unthinkable for Israeli Jews to die for this cause, so they manipulated the US into the war with the help of the Jewish Zionist “Israel firsters” in the Bush administration in order that the blood of way too many young American men and women is shed instead.
It is they who control the middle eastern foreign policy of the most powerful country in the world, the USA. It is they who control congress, the senate and the puppet president, George W. Bush. They have such control in movies and television that we are now subjected to endless programs and Hollywood movies that mock Christianity, Christian values and degrade the traditional family.
After sober reflection on what I had discovered about Jewish supremacy and Zionism, I had to abandon all my previously held notions as to the history of Jewish persecution.
What I have trouble understanding is why they continue this behavior in whichever society they live, knowing that eventually they will overplay their hand and their perfidy will be exposed yet again.Has history taught them nothing?
As more and more people become aware of what is going on and who is responsible for it, anger is going to rise as it already has in the former Soviet Union and eastern European countries.
They may control television, movies and the print media, but they don’t control the internet. At least not yet. Blogs and websites devoted to “outing” the Jewish supremacists will ultimately be their downfall.
“Anti-Semitic” — It’s a Trick! We [Jews] always use it!
Editors Note: This article was originally written Feb, 19th, 2008. But still holds relevance to this day.