Could pariah status spell the end for Zionism?

Alan Hart

Alan Hart, 8 March 2011

Definition: Pariah – a social outcast (Chambers Dictionary)

One eminent Israeli who apparently thinks the answer could be yes is Ilan Baruch, a veteran diplomat who resigned ahead of his retirement because, he said, he could no longer represent his government’s “wrong” policy. He also ridiculed Zionism’s assertion that global anti-Israeli sentiments generated by occupation are a manifestation of anti-Semitism.
While serving as a tank platoon commander on the Suez Canal front, Baruch lost and eye and, Dayan-like, he wears a black eye-patch. His 30 years of service with Israel’s foreign ministry included postings to Singapore, Copenhagen and London and he served as ambassador to the Philippines and South Africa. In September 1993 he travelled with Prime Minister Rabin to Washington for the ceremony on the White House lawn which ended with the historic handshake after the signing of an interim agreement. (Prior to that trip, Baruch would have known that the Zionist lobby in America was totally opposed to Rabin going there to do business with Arafat. That was why Rabin didn’t want to go and had to be persuaded by President Clinton at his smooth talking best on the telephone. While in Washington on that occasion, Baruch would have learned what the lobby’s post handshake strategy was going to be – to rebrand Arafat as a “terrorist”).

On his return to Israel, Baruch set up and headed the foreign ministry’s desk dealing with economic relations with the Arab world. His own main focus was on relations with the Palestinians and the international donor community.

According to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, Baruch’s resignation was a diplomatic “earthquake” at the foreign ministry.

In a personal letter he sent to all foreign ministry employees explaining his decision to quit, Baruch wrote: “Identifying the objection expressed by global public opinion to the occupation policy as anti-Semitic is simplistic, provincial and artificial. Experience shows that this global trend won’t change until we normalize our relations with the Palestinians.”

And he gave this warning: “Should this trend continue, Israel will turn into a pariah state and face growing de-legitimization.”

Baruch has to be saluted for his stand and the courage it required but he’s not yet up to speed with events. So far as most peoples of the world are concerned, or so it seems, Israel is already a pariah state. And the fact that all the members of the UN Security Council minus only the U.S. voted for the resolution condemning continued, illegal Israeli settlement activities on the occupied West Bank is surely an indication that governments might be catching up with their peoples.

As Aluf Benn noted in an article for Ha-aretz, the message Netanyahu ought to have got from what happened in the Security Council is that “Israel has no more friends in the international community.” Benn qualified that by adding: “It was only the flick of Obama’s finger that prevented a huge diplomatic defeat for the prime minister, and the White House went out of its way to make it clear that it does in fact support the condemnation and was voting against it only for domestic political considerations.” (For which read Obama’s fear of a confrontation with the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress).

In the countdown to Obama’s veto, I wrote that good sources were telling me that behind closed doors most if not all European governments were fed up with Israel and were ready, if only America would give the lead, to resort to sanctions in an effort to oblige Israel to comply with international law and end its 1967 occupation in accordance with Security Council Resolution 242. An indication that even Germany really is fed up with Israel’s intransigence has been provided by Uri Avnery. In his latest post, he tells of a telephone conversation between Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Netanyahu called “to rebuke her for Germany’s vote in favour of the Security Council resolution condemning the settlements.” Avnery went on:

“I don’t know if our prime minister mentioned the Holocaust, but he certainly expressed his annoyance about Germany daring to vote against the ‘Jewish State’. He was shocked by the response. Instead of a contrite Frau Merkel apologizing abjectly, his ear was filled by a schoolmistress scolding him in no uncertain terms. She told him that he had broken all his promises and that not one of the world’s leaders believes a single word of his any more. She demanded that he make peace with the Palestinians.”

In Aluf Benn’s analysis, Netanyahu now has “to choose between the ideology he was raised on and which is part of his internal belief system, and the duties of the leader of a small country entirely dependent on international support.”

A short and fairly accurate description of the ideology Netanyahu was raised on is something like this. “The world will always hate Jews. Zionism must therefore do whatever is necessary to build and secure Israel as a refuge of last resort for Jews everywhere. And if that means telling the world to go to hell, so be it.” (That’s actually why David Ben-Gurion, Moshe Dayan and others insisted that Israel should possess nuclear weapons – to have the reinforced ability to tell the world, not just the Arabs, to go to hell if necessary).

At the time of writing Netanyahu is preparing a damage limitation strategy which he will launch shortly with an “historic speech” announcing a new peace initiative. According to the leaks it will propose negotiations to set up a Palestinian state with “provisional (meaning temporary) borders” on about half the West Bank. (Roughly the same as Sharon was prepared to offer). Presumably the other half, including East Jerusalem, will remain stuffed with illegal Jewish settlements which control the West Bank’s main water resources. (Sharon once said the 1967 war was really all about water).

Netanyahu knows that even a quisling Palestinian leadership would not be able to negotiate on that basis, but peace with an acceptable amount of justice for the Palestinians is not his game. With its verbal re-commitment to a Palestinian state, his new peace plan will be a marketing exercise to assist the Zionist lobby in America and supporters of Israel right or wrong everywhere to rebrand him – to have him perceived as a leader who is misunderstood and even wronged, and who really is committed to a negotiated peace with the Palestinians. It’s by no means impossible that he will make some token withdrawals from the West Bank, in order to provoke a containable clash with settlers, in order for him to be able to say to the world something like, “Look, I really am serious but you must appreciate my difficulties.”

As ever the bonus will be that Netanyahu can blame the Palestinians for the failure of another attempt to get negotiations going. This is, in fact, the oldest trick in Zionism’s book. It was Ben-Gurion who invented it. Offer the Arabs something you know they can’t accept and then blame them when they don’t. (Two days after announcing that he was formulating a new peace initiative, at a press conference after his meeting with Chilean President Sebastian Pinera in Jerusalem, Netanyahu rehearsed his blame the Palestinians intention. He that it was Israel which was willing to take “many steps to promote peace and make compromises.” He added: “The Palestinians are the ones refusing to take similar steps, instead preferring to take advantage of the international community’s Pavlovian reflex in their favour.”)

It’s possible that a marketing exercise by Netanyahu will buy him and the Zionist colonial enterprise time, but in the longer term it’s unlikely to halt and then reverse the rising tide of anti-Israelism. Beyond the short term it could even be counter-productive (as almost everything Zionism does is) and reinforce the notion of Israel as a pariah state.

What then?

Is it possible that a global perception of them as citizens of a pariah state and the possibility of real sanctions will alarm enough Israeli Jews to the point where they will take to the streets in significant numbers to demand that their leaders be serious about peace on terms virtually all Palestinians and most other Arabs and Muslims everywhere could accept? (Tunisia and Egypt – let’s not say Libya – on the streets of Israel?!)

I don’t pretend to know the answer to this question but for the sake of discussion I think it is worth asking.

Alan Hart

Alan Hart

Alan Hart has been engaged with events in the Middle East and their global consequences and terrifying implications – the possibility of a Clash of Civilisations, Judeo-Christian v Islamic, and, along the way, another great turning against the Jews – for nearly 40 years…

Alan maintains an online blog with a wealth of articles that can be found here http://www.alanhart.net/

More Articles on RamallahOnline can be found here

Crunch time coming for America in the Middle East?

Alan Hart

Alan Hart, 1 Feb 2011

If more and more Arabs breach the wall of fear that has prevented them for decades from demanding their rights, expressing their rage at the corruption and repression of their governments and at regime impotence in the face of Israel’s arrogance of power, there’s one question above all others America’s policy makers will have to ask themselves. Who do we need most if America’s own real interests are to be best protected – the Arabs or Israel? And that, of course, begs the mother and father of all questions for them: Is Israel our most valuable ally in the region or our biggest liability?

Eisenhower was the first and last president to contain Zionism’s territorial ambitions. Kennedy might have been the second if he had been allowed to live. But from Johnson to Obama, and whether they really believed it or not (I think most if not all of them didn’t), every American president has paid extravagant lip-service to the idea that Israel is the U.S.’s most valuable ally in the Middle East.

Obama’s relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and his government has not been good to say the least, but there are informed and influential Israelis who think the manifestation of people power in Egypt could provide both men with the opportunity to change the relationship for the better. Writing in Ha’aretz under the headline For Obama, Eygpt protests may garner a new friend – Israel, Aluf Benn wrote this (my emphasis added):

“If Netanyahu plays his cards right, he could leverage the fall of neighbouring regimes into a significant improvement in Israel’s relations with the United States.

“Obama wants to be popular among the citizens of Arab states at the expense of their leaders, as he tried to do in his Cairo speech some 18 months ago. He is betting that the new regimes will be grateful and will continue to rely on Washington for diplomatic and military support. But he is taking a risk: What if the revolution doesn’t stop at the moderate interim stage and keeps going till it reaches Muslim extremism? And what will the United States do in the interim phase, when the Middle East is sunk in uncertainty?

When Obama and his advisers look at a map of the region, they see only one state they can count on: Israel. The regime is stable, and support for America is well-entrenched. Obama may dislike Netanyahu and his policy toward the Palestinians, but after losing his allies in Turkey, Lebanon and Egypt, and with the uneasiness gripping his friends in Jordan and the Gulf, Washington can’t afford to be choosy. It will have to move closer to Israel, and for another reason as well: An anxious Israel is an Israel that is prone to military adventures, and that’s the last thing Obama needs right now.

Now is the time for Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to justify their claim that Israel is a ‘villa in the jungle’, the West’s outpost in the Middle East.”

Netanyahu’s own contribution to fear mongering was the statement that “Egypt could follow the path of Iran”.

In my view it is not difficult to imagine the line the Zionist lobby in America was taking with the Obama administration. It might well have quoted a sentence from the National Security Network’s press release of 27 January. “The Obama administration seeks to encourage political reforms without destabilizing the region.” Then something like the following. “Your policy is failing. Your encouragement of political reforms is destabilizing the region, but what is happening is far more menacing than destabilization in the general sense. What we are witnessing is the beginning of a regional Arab intifada. The tide is turning in favour of the forces of violent Islamic fundamentalism in all its forms. If the war against global terrorism is not to be lost, America now needs Israel more than ever.”

In reality there is no evidence to suggest that change brought about by people power in Arab states would lead inevitably to rule by, or even popular support for, extremist and violent forces which use and abuse Islam in much the same way as Zionists use and abuse Judaism. From Tunisia and Eygpt in particular there is a great deal of evidence to the contrary (but as I will indicate later, everything will ultimately depend on whether or not policy makers in Washington D.C. put America on the right side of history).

The evidence to the contrary is in the fact that the manifestations of Arab people power the world has witnessed to date were not instigated by Islamist extremist groups They were spontaneous protests with demands by citizens from almost all sections of civil society, and very few were (or so it seemed) ideologically driven.

Given that policy makers in Washington D.C. say they want to see democracy alive and well in the Arab world, why, really, are they so alarmed by what is happening?

The answer is in this fact. What almost all Arab peoples want is not only an end to corruption and repression and a better life in their own countries. They also want an end to the humiliation caused by Israel’s arrogance of power, American and other Western support for it and the impotence of Arab governments, most of which are seen by their masses as agents of America-and-Zionism.

The implications are profound.

If change brings Arab governments which must and do reflect the wishes of their peoples, those governments will be under great and perhaps irresistible pressure to use their leverage in a serious effort to oblige the U.S. to use its leverage to cause Israel to end its occupation of all Arab land grabbed in 1967.

If Arab push came to American shove, Arab leverage options include withdrawing ambassadors from America; stopping assistance for propping up America’s ailing economy; and a credible threat to use the oil weapon. (As I have written in the past, the Arabs would not have to turn off the oil taps. A credible, behind-closed-doors threat to do would be enough. As I have also written in the past, if the boot was on the other foot – if the Zionists were in the Arab position, they would have played the oil card long, long ago).

If, in response to the wishes of the people, a new Arab Order did signal an intention to use its leverage, it would be crunch time for America in the Middle East; and its policy makers would have to answer the who do we need most question.

How they answered it would determine what side of history in-the-making America was going to be on – the right side or the wrong side.

The right side would see America using its leverage to oblige Israel to end its occupation. This would open the door to a real peace process (actually the first ever) and create an environment in which there would be no place for Muslim extremism.

The wrong side would see America continuing with the policy of support for Israel right or wrong and being complicit in its defiance of international law and war crimes. This would open the door to the forces of violent Islamic fundamentalism and set in motion a confrontation that could go all the way to a clash of civilizations.

Which option will America choose if crunch time comes?

Footnote

As I watched the drama unfolding in Eygpt, I found myself wondering why, really, Mubarak was clinging on. I entertained the thought that it was because Obama was telling him to do so in the hope either that the “protesters” would run out of steam, or because he, Obama, needed time for his people to fix the succession. I was entertaining such a thought because I had just re-read an excellent piece by Philip Stephens published in the Financial Times last October. In it he wrote: “Five years ago Mr. Bush promised a democratic transformation in the Middle East. The ambition of his second inaugural address was abandoned almost as it was spoken. Offering a voice to the Arab street, it was soon agreed, risked empowering extremists such as Hamas. Better to slip back into the comfortable cold war posture of cuddling up to friendly tyrants.”

The coming days, perhaps hours, will tell us if this American policy preference is sustainable.

Alan Hart

Alan Hart

Alan Hart has been engaged with events in the Middle East and their global consequences and terrifying implications – the possibility of a Clash of Civilisations, Judeo-Christian v Islamic, and, along the way, another great turning against the Jews – for nearly 40 years…

Alan maintains an online blog with a wealth of articles that can be found here http://www.alanhart.net/

More Articles on RamallahOnline can be found here

Israel Strikes Back

Israeli Pirate Flag Silwan - (June 26 2010, Rebecca Fudala)

Israeli Pirate Flag Silwan - (June 26 2010, Rebecca Fudala)

Jeff Gates, 26 Jan 2011

Timing is everything when waging war “by way of deception,” the motto that has long guided Israeli war-planners. Whenever Israel’s geopolitical goals are threatened, chaos is assured. In national security terminology, the January 24th bombing at Moscow’s busiest airport was “out of theater repositioning.”

First among Tel Aviv’s priorities is their need to maintain traction for the latest geopolitical narrative: a “global war on terrorism” against “Islamo-fascism.” The fact that America’s two latest wars serve Israeli goals remains largely unmentioned in Western media.

Six days prior to the Moscow bombing, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev traveled to the West Bank to endorse a Palestinian state with its capital East Jerusalem. He pointedly noted “this was the first visit of a Russian president to Palestine not united with a visit to another country” (Israel).

Then he joined a fast-lengthening list of nations confirming that, to date, 109 of 192 United Nations member countries support a resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood.

Though the U.S. reliably vetoes Security Council resolutions at Israel’s request, sentiments are shifting as a global public awakens to the costs of the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

Numerous Latin American nations recently extended recognition to Palestine. Ireland just announced an upgrade in its relationship to embassy status.

Out-of-Theatre Repositioning

When waging war from the shadows, Zionist war-planners concentrate their efforts on key variables. Thus the fear in Tel Aviv that emerging events are loosening control of the Israel lobby over U.S. foreign policy.

To sustain a global “war on terrorism,” instability must be sustained. Anyone familiar with the Israeli use of strategic duplicity found it unsurprising when multiple crises emerged “unexpectedly” in North Africa.

Unrest in Tunisia triggered a change in government followed by unrest in Mauritania, Algeria, Yemen and Egypt. During a recent Arab League meeting, Secretary-General Amr Mousa cautioned that the contagion could spread.

If so, look for the price of energy to soar, further weakening leaders in the debt-ridden West where restive populations already face fewer services, higher taxes­—and more debt.

Misdirection also plays a role in such well-timed crises. Tel Aviv just released a report justifying Israel’s deadly boarding of a Turkish vessel last May in international waters carrying aid to Gaza. Yet a post-mortem found 30 Israeli bullets in the bodies of nine dead activists, including one shot four times in the head.

Akin to the 911 Commission Report that obscured the anti-Zionist motivation for that mass murder, news of this Israeli attack was obscured by reports of a bombing in Moscow and a leak that Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas secretly agreed to cede Palestinian land to Israel.

That well-timed leak weakened the Palestinian president while the bombing weakened the Russian president when this well-timed crisis forced his cancellation of a keynote address to world leaders at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Multiple Motives

When deploying deceit to wage war, Zionists catalyze mental impressions meant to link events in the public’s mind. Thus the critical role of timing when advancing a thematic narrative such as The Clash of Civilizations.

These latest events heightened tensions worldwide as both fear and the requisite loathing were reinforced by yet another series of well-timed crises. When faced with the threat that its Islamo-fascist storyline is losing traction, what else can Zionists do?

Confronted with the possibility that the West may withdraw support for its six-decade occupation of Palestine, what is Tel Aviv to do? Facing the prospect of global censure for its murder of Turkish activists, how can Israel divert attention?

Tel Aviv is backed into a corner. Overwhelming evidence confirms that Zionists generated the false intelligence that induced the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Though the Israel lobby retains its control over U.S. lawmakers, the American public is fast realizing how many crises originate with those who consider themselves above the law.

To Betray, First Befriend

What are Americans to do when faced with a devious enemy—posing as an ally—whose operatives consider themselves Chosen by a god of their own choosing? With mainstream media dominated by those complicit in this duplicity, how can this chokehold be released?

As a duped electorate slowly awakens to how they were deceived—and by whom—how do Americans make amends for the damage done by their Israeli-compliant lawmakers?

Those determined to defeat this ‘enemy within’ must first make this treason transparent. As the common source of this corruption becomes apparent, accountability can commence.

Americans do not yet grasp that we have long been the target of ongoing capital crimes. Zionists know that our continued ignorance is the key to their continued impunity. With knowledge comes the power to prosecute those complicit. Therein lies the challenge.

Aware of the future that awaits them, Zionists are becoming desperate and even more dangerous. An escalation of violence is assured until the full force of international law is turned on those who have long flaunted the law in pursuit of their extremist agenda.

A Vietnam veteran, Jeff Gates is a widely acclaimed author, attorney, investment banker, educator and consultant to government, corporate and union leaders worldwide. He served for seven years as counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance. He is widely published in the trade, popular and academic press. His latest book is Guilt by Association: How Deception and Self-Deceit Took America to War. His previous books include Democracy at Risk: Rescuing Main Street From Wall Street and The Ownership Solution: Toward a Shared Capitalism for the 21st Century. Topical commentaries appear on the Criminal State website. You may reach him at jeff DOT gates AT criminalstate DOT com. The author contributed this article to Ramallah Online, more articles by Jeff Gates on Ramallah Online can be found here.

The Day After Zionism

Olive trees on Thassos.JPG Olive trees on Thassos (Wikimedia Commons)

Hannah Mermelstein, 12 Jan 2011

As we trudge through the terraced land, ducking under branches of olive trees and trying to avoid prickly bushes, I think about landscape, consciousness, and memory.  We are walking through the land because Israeli soldiers are blocking the road ahead.  They are blocking the road ahead so as not to allow people to arrive in the Palestinian village of Bil’in.  We are going to Bil’in in order to protest the confiscation of the village’s land for settlement and wall construction.  At Bil’in’s demonstration a week earlier, 36-year-old Jawaher Abu Rahme inhaled a lethal dose of tear gas.  Her brother Bassem was shot and killed by an Israeli soldier at a protest in the village just under two years ago.

So we traipse through the olive groves, only slightly out of view of the soldiers on the road, and a line by Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish comes to mind: “If the olive trees knew the hands that planted them, their oil would become tears.”  Bil’in has become a battleground, the surrounding landscape a stage for a risky game of cat and mouse.  What kind of consciousness does the land have?  What would it say if it could?  The wall is often described as a scar through Palestine, but right now it is more of a fresh wound.  When the wall falls, will the scar left be permanent?

Two days before this protest, our group wakes up at the Yafa Cultural Center in Balata refugee camp, Nablus.  We eat breakfast, thank our hosts, and get in a bus with the right color license plate, driven by a driver with the right color ID card, and head towards the city of Yafa.  The Yafa Cultural Center is thus named because the vast majority of people living in Balata refugee camp come originally from Yafa and the surrounding area.  Most of these people have never seen their original villages, or have not been back since their displacement in 1948.  I am hesitant to tell our hosts where we are going, knowing that my visit to Yafa – and their inability to join us – is emblematic of the injustice I try so hard to fight.

On the way, we encounter another fresh wound / scar-to-be.  We have split into two vehicles, and I am driving a small rental car with two Palestinian women from the West Bank, and two of our whiter and blonder American group members.  When we see the checkpoint ahead, we take a deep breath, but we have no reason to believe this will be any different than the many other times I have used my undeserved privilege to “smuggle” Palestinians into parts of their own country that they are not allowed to visit.  But this time is different.  A soldier or security guard (it’s hard to tell the difference these days) signals for us to stop, and my trick of waving and continuing to drive is thwarted by a new metal bar that the soldiers operate.  It looks like a toll booth, only the highway employees are armed and the context much more insidious.  When she asks for our passports, we stumble a bit before saying we left them in a hotel in Tel Aviv.  We say we are five American tourists.  She is skeptical.

We are ordered to pull over and get out of the car.  It continues from there: questioning, searching, rapid fire questions to the two Palestinian women about their names, their parents’ names, where they are from, whether they speak any languages other than English.  It is maddening and terrifying, and I am standing there wishing we had prepared better, wishing my privilege-driven arrogance – which is often what helps me get through checkpoints – had been mitigated at least enough for us to have had a plan, a story, a mindset that might help us get through this.  We tell the guard we had been in the Israeli settlement of Ariel, visiting a friend.  I am making it up as I go along.  She wants my friend’s name and phone number.  I quickly call an old Israeli friend who doesn’t even know I’m in the country.  He is surprised and happy to hear from me and asks, “When did you get here?”  “There’s a security guard here who wants to talk to you about our visit to your house in Ariel,” I say.  “I don’t live in Ariel,” he says, confused.  “We’re at the checkpoint on our way from your place to Tel Aviv,” I respond.  He catches on.

At this point I’m only trying to get us out of here, not even to get through, but with every question from the guards/soldiers, our story has more and more holes.  Finally we talk our way out of the situation and are allowed to “return” to Ariel (where we have not been).  Hearts are pounding.  I am feeling guilty for my arrogance, and my Palestinian friends are feeling humiliated.  They are not entirely surprised by the way they have been treated, but are deeply upset at the degree to which it has affected them.

We drive south, towards another checkpoint that is easier to get through, and I think about how much pain and injustice a people and a place can hold.  None of us share exactly what we are feeling – probably none of us are able – but we make a tentative plan for the next checkpoint.  We drive through without stopping, and have a small celebration in the car.  But we feel uneasy.  We are still nervous about being caught.  My friend who would at this point usually take off her hat and put back on her head scarf does not do so quite yet.  We feel the occupation in our bodies, in our minds.  I am not experiencing anything close to what my Palestinian friends are, yet my visceral reaction offers a fragment of understanding of how this system is able to function.

We arrive in Yafa and go first to the sea.  One friend has not seen it since she was a child – except as a reminder from the hills of Nablus on a clear day – and her eyes immediately fill with tears.  She thanks me.  I am speechless.  The last thing I want at that moment is to be thanked for bringing a friend to her own land.

As we walk around Yafa and Tel Aviv, I am struck by a sense of permanence.  Although I know that the Jewish presence in this city is only a hundred years in the making, while the Palestinian presence is thousands of years deep, it is hard now to imagine the undoing or even the transformation of this place.  There are other parts of the country in which it is hard to imagine the continuation of an exclusively Jewish state, but in Tel Aviv, I often feel an overwhelming sense of the opposite.

A couple days ago I was talking with an Israeli friend who works with Zochrot.  The organization raises awareness about the Nakba (“catastrophe” in Arabic) of 1948.  They visit destroyed villages and place signs there with the villages’ original names; organize art exhibits and lectures; facilitate workshops for school children; and engage in other activities to affect the Israeli collective memory.  My friend was telling me that he will soon start to focus even more on outreach to the Israeli public.  A few minutes later the topic turned to the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.  He excitedly told me that he has hope in this movement, that it’s clear from his perspective that the international movement is growing, and that only pressure from the outside can change the reality on the ground.  “Then why do you want to focus more on the Israeli public?” I ask.  He thought for a minute, and then responded: “My work is not going to have an immediate effect on the political situation here.  What I’m doing is preparing for the day after Zionism.”

May we all be strong enough and imaginative enough to envision justice: to see roads without checkpoints, to remember when Bil’in was a village and not a battleground, and indeed, to work together to bring about the day after Zionism.

  • Hannah Mermelstein is a Palestine solidarity activist and aspiring radical librarian based in Brooklyn. Since 2003, she has spent more than two years living and working in Palestine, and is co-creator of Birthright Unplugged and Students Boycott Apartheid. In New York Hannah works primarily with Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel.

Zionism and Peace Are Incompatible

Alan Hart

Alan Hart, AlanHart.net, 22 Oct 2010

At last somebody has said it in the most explicit way possible. The somebody also said: “The problem is Zionism and the solution is dismantling the Zionist framework and instituting a secular democracy that does not discriminate between Israelis and Palestinians.”

The somebody was Miko Peled, a Jewish peace activist who was born in Israel and lives in America.

He is the son of an Israeli war hero, Matti Peled, who was a young officer in the war of 1948 and a general in the war of 1967. After that war, General Peled signalled his own commitment to truth by rubbishing Zionism’s version of events. He did so with the statement that there was not a threat to Israel’s existence and that it was a war of Israeli choice (i.e. aggression not self-defense). General Peled was also one of a number of prominent Jews who called soon after the 1967 war for the immediate establishment of a Palestinian state on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

In his latest article from which my headline for this piece was extracted, Miko says that the two-state solution was clearly viable 40 years ago, but today…? He writes (my emphasis added):
“Now the West Bank is riddled with towns and malls and highways built on Palestinian land for Jews only and Israeli cabinet members openly discuss population transfers, or rather transfer of its non-Jewish population. The level of oppression and the intensity of the violence against Palestinians has reached new heights… Discussing the two-state solution now under these conditions shows an acute inability to accept reality… There is an illusion that a liberal, forward thinking government can rise in Israel and then everything will be just as liberal Zionists wish it to be. They will pick up where Rabin and Arafat left off and we will have the pie in sky Jewish democracy liberal Jews want so much to see in Israel. This illusion is shared by American Jews, liberal Zionists in Israel and around the world and in the West where guilt of two millennia of persecuting Jews still haunts the conscience of many. If only there were better leaders and if only this and if only that… But alas, reality continues to slap everyone in the face: Zionism and peace are incompatible. I will say it again, Zionism and peace are incompatible.”

Miko adds that serious study of the history of modern Israel shows that “the emergence of Netanyahu and Lieberman was perfectly predictable.”

I agree and offer this summary explanation of why.

Zionism is not only Jewish nationalism which created a state in the Arab heartland mainly by terrorism and ethnic cleansing. It is also a pathological mindset. In the deluded Zionist mind the world was always anti-Jew and always will be. It follows that Holocaust II (shorthand for another great turning against Jews) is inevitable. It follows that there can be no limits to what Zionism will do in order to preserve nuclear-armed Greater Israel as a refuge of last resort for all Jews everywhere when the world turns against them.

When I was reflecting on Miko’s main point, that Zionism and peace are incompatible, I found myself wondering why really it is that American presidents will not use the leverage they have to try to call the Zionist state to account for its crimes when doing so would clearly be in America’s own best interests.

I’m beginning to think that the awesome influence of the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress is not the complete answer. And the question I am asking myself is this: Could it be that all American presidents know there is nothing nuclear-armed Israeli leaders would not do if they were seriously pressed to make peace on terms which they believed in their own deluded minds would put Israel’s security at risk? Always in my own mind is what Prime Minister Golda Meir said to me in a BBC Panorama interview and from which I quote in my book – in a doomsday situation Israel “would be prepared to take the region and the whole world down with it.”

If it is the case that American presidents are frightened of provoking Israel, the conclusion would have to be that the Zionist state is a monster beyond control and that all efforts for peace are doomed to failure.

Is the situation really as bad as that?

My own answer is yes. But there are some observers who think that after the mid-term elections in America there might be one more opportunity for President Obama to bring enough Israelis to their senses in order to give peace its very last chance.

This new hope has been inspired, apparently, by reports of a forthcoming Palestinian (and presumably wider Arab) initiative to have the Security Council recognize Palestinian independence within the 1967 borders.

In Ha’aretz on 20 October, Aluf Benn wrote this:

Israel’s diplomacy has reached a turning point. Instead of dealing with the failed direct talks, from this point Israel will be orchestrating a diplomatic holding action against the Palestinian initiative to have the UN Security Council recognize Palestinian independence within the 1967 borders. Such a decision would deem Israel an invader and occupier, paving the way for measures against Israel. Obama could scuttle the process by casting an American veto. Would he do it? And at what price?

Barak is warning Netanyahu that Obama is determined to establish a Palestinian state, even if it requires political risks. The president doesn’t have to come out publicly against Israel, but can simply stand on the sidelines when the Security Council recognizes Palestine. The international movement to boycott Israel will gain massive encouragement when Europe, China and India turn their backs on Israel and erode the last remnants of its legitimacy. Gradually the Israeli public will also feel the diplomatic and economic stranglehold.

It’s not certain that this will happen.

We shall see.

Alan Hart

Alan Hart

Alan Hart has been engaged with events in the Middle East and their global consequences and terrifying implications – the possibility of a Clash of Civilisations, Judeo-Christian v Islamic, and, along the way, another great turning against the Jews – for nearly 40 years…

Alan maintains an online blog with a wealth of articles that can be found here http://www.alanhart.net/

Yes indeed, show us all the map!

Alan Hart

Alan Hart, AlanHart.net, 16 Oct 2010

Better late than never, a very senior Palestinian official in Ramallah, Yasser Abed Rabbo, found the right way to challenge Israel and the U.S. As reported by AFP on 13 October, he said, “We officially demand that the US administration and the Israeli government provide a map of the borders of the state of Israel which they want us to recognise.”

That’s a completely logical and totally reasonable demand.

IF Israel was interested in peace on terms virtually all Palestinians and most other Arabs and Muslims everywhere could accept, the map provided would show Israel with borders as they were on the eve of the 1967 war. An accompanying note would say that, subject to agreement in final negotiations, Israel seeks minor border adjustments here and there. The note would also propose that Jerusalem should be an open, undivided city and the capital of two states.

If such a map with the note as above was presented, it would open the door to peace.

But the implementation of such land-for-peace deal would require the IDF to confront and forcibly remove illegal Jewish settlers who refused to leave; and that would open the door to a Jewish civil war – the price Israel’s Jews would have to pay for 62 years of contempt for and defiance of international law.

Of course it won’t happen. As I reveal in my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, why not was explained to me as far back as I980 by Shimon Peres. At the time he was the leader of the Labour Party, the main opposition to Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s Likud-led coalition. Peres was hoping to win Israel’s next election and deny Begin a second term in office. (President Carter was hoping and possibly praying for such an outcome). My purpose in talking with Peres in private was to establish whether or not he was interested in me acting as the linkman in a secret, exploratory dialogue between himself and PLO Chairman Arafat. Peres was interested but before I went off to Beirut to seek Arafat’s agreement to participate in a little conspiracy for peace, he said to me, “I fear it’s already too late“.

I asked Peres what he meant and this was his answer:

“Every day that passes sees new bricks on new settlements. Begin knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s stuffing the West Bank with settlers to create the conditions for a Jewish civil war. He knows that no Israeli prime minister is going down in history as the one who gave the order to the Jewish army to shoot Jews out of the West Bank“. Pause. “I’m not.”

When Peres spoke those words to me there were 70,000 illegal Jewish settlers on the occupied West Bank. If it was “too late” then, in 1980, how much more too late is it today when the number of illegal Jewish settlers is in excess of 500,000 and rising on a daily basis?

Some weeks after that conversation with Peres, I had reason to talk in private with Ezer Weizman, then serving as Defense Minister in Begin’s first-term government. He gave me extraordinary and frightening insight into why any future Israeli prime minister would not and possibly could not order the IDF to remove settlers from the West Bank by whatever force was necessary. At a point in our conversation he said the following, very slowly and with quiet emphasis:

This lunchtime Sharon convened a secret meeting of some of our generals and other top military and security people. They signed in blood an oath which commits them to join with the settlers and fight to the death to prevent any government of Israel withdrawing from the West Bank.” Pause. “I know that’s what happened at the meeting because I’ve checked it out and that’s why I was late for this appointment with you.” (I tell the full story of this conversation with Weizman in The Blood Oath, Chapter 12 of Volume Three of the American edition of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews).

So no, there won’t be a Jewish civil war because no Israeli prime minister is ever going to risk provoking it.

So there will be no map. (I mean not one that could come even close to satisfying the Palestinian demand and need). Yasser Abed Rabbo knew that when he put the demand into words.

So what was the point of his challenge?

I presume he was hoping that Israel’s refusal to come up with a map based on more or less pre-June 1967 borders will help to convince more and more people, Americans especially, that Israel simply is not interested in peace on terms virtually all Palestinians and most other Arabs and Muslims everywhere could accept, and for which there is universal support (minus only the opposition of the Zionists and the mad, fundamentalist Christians who support them right or wrong, an opposition which in numbers of people is only a tiny, almost invisible fraction of the global whole).

If it does that, the challenge will not have been made in vain.

Footnote

The day after Yasser Abed Rabbo issued the challenge, Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman had the gall (chutzpah) to say that Israel “has already made many gestures to the Palestinian Authority to facilitate restarting direct negotiations,” and now “the other side must show goodwill”. In one sense Liberman was right. Israel has made many gestures to the Palestinians. But all of them have been of the “Go to hell” type.

Alan Hart

Alan Hart

Alan Hart has been engaged with events in the Middle East and their global consequences and terrifying implications – the possibility of a Clash of Civilisations, Judeo-Christian v Islamic, and, along the way, another great turning against the Jews – for nearly 40 years…
Alan maintains an online blog with a wealth of articles that can be found here http://www.alanhart.net/

Four Reasons Why Americans Should Oppose Zionism

Like so many other crusader states and occupation regimes, the Zionist state will pass from the scene.  Israel's hideous "wall of separation" cannot protect a regime of terrorists that is detested by the rest of the world.

Steven Salaita, 24 August 2010

Israel has been subject to some bad publicity recently. In 2008-09, it launched a brutal military campaign in the Gaza Strip that killed over 400 Palestinian children. In May, 2010, bumbling Israeli commandos murdered nine nonviolence activists on the relief flotilla Mavi Marmara. It only got worse for Israel when it was revealed that soldiers stole and sold personal items such as laptops from the ship. Last week, former Israeli soldier Eden Abergil posted photos onto facebook showing her preening in front of blindfolded and despondent Palestinian prisoners, in some instances mocking those prisoners with sexual undertones. The photos were part of an album entitled “IDF—the best time of my life.”

While Abergil’s pictures may not seem as abhorrent as the Gaza and Mavi Marmara brutality—Abergil, for her part, described her behavior as nonviolent and free of contempt—all three actions are intimately connected. First of all, we must dispel the notion that Abergil’s photos are nonviolent. As with the Abu Ghraib debacle, a sexualized and coercive humiliation is being visited on the bodies of powerless, colonized, and incarcerated subjects, which by any reasonable principle is a basal form of violence; there is also the obvious physical violence of Palestinians being bound and blindfolded, presumably in or on their way to prisons nobody will confuse with the Mandarin Oriental.

More important, these recent episodes merely extend an age-old list of Israeli crimes and indignities that illuminate a depravity in the Zionist enterprise itself. What is noteworthy about Israel’s three recent escapades is that more and more people are starting to pay attention to its crimes and indignities. In so doing, more and more people are questioning the origin and meaning of Zionism—that is, the very idea of a legally ethnocentric Israel.

I would like to address this piece to those who have undertaken such questioning or to those who are prepared to initiate it. I would urge you not to limit your critique of Israel only to its errors of judgment or its perceived excesses; it is more productive to challenge the ideology and practice of Zionism itself. There is no noble origin or beautiful ideal to which the wayward Jewish state must return; such yearnings are often duplicitous mythmaking or romanticized nostalgia. Zionists always intended to ethnically cleanse Palestinians, a strategy they carried out and continue to pursue with horrifying efficiency.

Likewise, Zionism was always a colonialist movement, one that relied on the notions of divine entitlement and civilizational superiority that justified previous settlement projects in South Africa, Algeria, and North America. Zionism, by virtue of its exclusionary outlook and ethnocentric model of citizenship, is on its own a purveyor of fundamental violence. The bad PR to which Israel sometimes is subject today is a reflection of changed media dynamics, not a worsening of Israel’s behavior.

The 2008-09 Gaza invasion, the attack on the Mavi Marmara, and Abergil’s facebook photos aren’t anomalous or extraordinary. They are the invariable result of a Zionist ideology that cannot help but view Palestinian Muslims and Christians as subhuman, no matter how ardently its liberal champions assert that Zionism is a liberation movement. Zionism has the unfortunate effect of proclaiming that one group of people should have access to certain rights from which another group of people is excluded. There is nothing defensible in this proposition.

Here, then, are four reasons why Americans (and all other humans regardless of race or religion) should oppose Zionism:

1. Zionism is unethical and immoral: Because Zionists claim access to land and legal rights that directly obviate the same access to an indigenous community, it operates from within an idea of belonging that is cruel and archaic. Israel bases its primary criterion for citizenship on religious identity. Imagine having your religion on your driver’s license. And imagine having limited access to freeways, farmland, family, education, employment, and foreign travel because the religion by which the state has chosen to identify you is legally marginalized. Such is the daily reality of the Palestinian people.

2. Zionism is racist: This claim isn’t the same as saying that all Zionists are racist. I would make a distinction between the categories of “Zionist” and “Zionism.” However, inherent in the practice of Zionism is a reliance on racialist judgments about who can fully participate in the benefits and practices of a national community. Many Zionists view themselves merely as supporting freedom and safety for Jewish people. I would suggest that people who identify themselves as Zionist look more closely at the ideology they support. Such freedom and safety, both of which are, in fact, mythologies, come at the direct expense of people confined to Bantustans and refugee camps.

3. Zionism contravenes the geopolitical interests of the United States: Many Americans have heard former Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert boast that he once pulled George W. Bush off the dais while Bush was giving a speech, or more recently current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announcing that “America is something that can be easily moved.” Israel costs the United States billions of dollars in direct aid and in bribe money to Jordan and Egypt for their docility. Israel also is the main reason for disgruntlement about American foreign policy in the Arab and Muslim Worlds. I raise this point with some hesitation because I believe all citizens of the United States should challenge and not celebrate American geopolitical interests. I would also point out that Zionism’s narrative of salvation and redemption resonates deeply among Americans because of the United States’ origin and continued presence as a nation of settler colonists. In the end, America itself needs to be decolonized and the vast sums of money that support the imperial projects Israel so brazenly exemplifies need to be directed toward the well-being of those who pay the government its taxes.

4. Zionism is fundamentally incompatible with democracy: Israel, as a result, is undemocratic and will be as long as it uses religious identity as the operating criterion of citizenship. We hear much in the United States about Islam being incompatible with democracy, a belief that is historically untrue and that elides the massive military and monetary support the United States provides to the assortment of dictators and plutocrats that rule much of the Arab World. Neoconservative and mainstream commentators both evoke Israel in opposition to Islam as a symbol of democratic achievement, but in reality Israel performs one of the most barbaric forms of oppression today in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (and discriminates against the Palestinian citizens of Israel).

The alternative media engendered by new technology have allowed more people to witness the unremitting violence that has been Israel’s stock in trade for decades. Many consumers of this information and these images believe that Israel is guilty of excess when a simpler explanation exists: Israel is acting out the requisites of an exclusionary and inherently violent ideology.

These days all it takes is a little braggadocio from an ex-soldier such as Eden Abergil to so perfectly symbolize the callousness of Zionist colonization. Ten years ago, the Israeli government’s lies about the IDF killings aboard the Mavi Marmara would have been unchallenged by gruesome cell phone footage. Nobody these days could have stopped the images of white phosphorous exploding and spreading over the Gaza Strip from being aired; Israelis, themselves, were foolish enough to capture Jewish children writing messages on soon-to-be-launched missiles.

Americans now have all the evidence they need for a reasonable and morally-sound conclusion, that Zionism produces a cruelty and truculence that they bankroll with their taxes and legitimize with either silence or consent. As a result, I am not arguing that Americans should reassess their level of support for Israel. I am arguing that Americans should oppose Zionism altogether. Perhaps in this way we might begin the long and difficult process of redeeming our own nation of its imperial sins.

Steven Salaita’s latest book is The Uncultured Wars: Arabs, Muslims, and the Poverty of Liberal Thought. This article was first published at Dissident Voice. Please see our fair use statement.

Post-Zionism – When You Say No

Uri Avnery

Uri Avnery,  22 August 2010

Before the victory of feminism, there was a popular Israeli song in which the boy asks the girl: ‘When you say No, what do you mean?’

This question has already been answered. Now I am more and more tempted to ask: ‘When you say Zionism, what do you mean?’

That is also my answer when asked whether I am a Zionist.

When you say Zionist, what do you mean?

Lately, associations for the defense of Zionism have been springing up like mushrooms after rain. Poisonous mushrooms.

All kinds of American Jewish multi-millionaires – many of them Casino kings, brothel moguls, money launderers and tax evaders – are financing “patriotic” Israeli groups in Israel, to fight the holy war for “Zionism”.

The assault takes place along all the fronts. Jewish organizations aim at cleansing the universities of post-Zionists. They threaten to induce other donors to withhold their donations, they terrorize presidents and rectors and frighten professors and students.

Americans may be reminded of the sinister era of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who blighted the life of thousands of intellectuals and artists, pushing many of them into exile or suicide. Europeans might be reminded of the days when “Aryan” professors informed on their treasonous colleagues, and students in brown shirts threw their Jewish colleagues out of the windows.

This is only one sector of the broad offensive. One group has proudly announced that it is teaching hundreds of professional Zionists how to cleanse Wikipedia, the on-line encyclopedia, of post-Zionist items and plant Zionist ones in their stead.

The term “post-Zionism” is starring in the propaganda of all the dozens – and perhaps hundreds – of the associations financed by the Las Vegas multi-millionaires and their likes in the United States in order to restore the Zionist glory of old.

Why this term, of all others? They mean the leftists, but those who attack the “leftists” are liable to be called “rightists”. However, the members of the extreme right want to be seen as belonging to the patriotic center. Nor is it nice or enlightened to speak out against “liberal” or “progressive” professors. “Post-Zionists” is the Israeli equivalent of the “Reds” of Senator McCarthy or the “Jews” of his predecessors in Germany.

But what is “post-Zionism”? Why not simply “anti-Zionism”?

As far as I know, I was the first to use this term. That was in 1976. I was testifying in a libel case that my friends and I had lodged against a publication that had accused the “Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace”, that we had just founded, of being “anti-Zionist”. In trying to explain my view to the judge, I said that Zionism was a historic movement, with both light and shadow, which had fulfilled its role with the establishment of the State of Israel. From then on, Israeli patriotism has taken its place. “Post-Zionism” means that with the founding of the state, a new historic era began. A “post-Zionist” can admire the achievements of Zionism or criticize them. He is not by definition an anti-Zionist.

The judge accepted my arguments and found in our favor. She awarded us handsome compensation. Now I am the only living Israeli who has a judicial confirmation that he is not an anti-Zionist – much as only a person released from a psychiatric hospital has an official confirmation that he is sane.

Since then, the term “post-Zionist” has acquired wide currency in academic circles. It has also acquired many shades of meaning, according to the people who use it.

But in the mouths of our new mini-McCarthys, it has become a simple denunciation. A post-Zionist is a traitor, an Arab-lover, a lackey of the enemy, an agent of the sinister world-wide conspiracy to destroy the Jewish State.

Shlomo Avineri, a respected professor of philosophy, recently published an article in which he fervently argued that Israel is a Jewish state and must remain so. The article has already stirred up a vivid debate.

I have received some protests from people who mistakenly thought that it was I who wrote the piece. That happens from time to time. Years ago the respected British weekly, The Economist, printed my name instead of his, and next week published “an apology to both”.

But the difference is considerable. Avineri is an eminent professor, a student of Hegel, an expert on Zionist history, a former Director General of the Israeli Foreign Office, and a devout Zionist. I, as is well-known, am not a professor, I never even finished elementary school, I never was a government spokesman and my attitude towards Zionism is very complex.

In his article, Avineri argued passionately that Israel is a Jewish state “as Poland is a Polish state and Greece is a Greek state”.  He was responding to a Palestinian citizen of Israel, Salman Masalha, who had asserted that there cannot be a “Jewish state”, much as  – he says – there cannot be a “Muslim state” or a “Catholic state”.

How can one compare, Avineri cried out. After all, the Jews are a people! Israel belongs to the Jewish people, whose religion is Judaism.

Logical, isn’t it?

By no means. The analogy does not fit.

If Poland belongs to the Poles and Greece to the Greeks, Israel belongs to the Israelis. But the Israeli government does not recognize the existence of an Israeli nation. (The courts have not yet decided upon the petition by some of us to be recognized as belonging to the Israeli nation.)

If Avineri had demanded the recognition that Israel belongs to the Israelis as Poland belongs to the Poles, I would have applauded. But he argues that Israel belongs to the Jews. This immediately raises some basic questions.

For example: Which Jews? Those who are Israeli citizens? Clearly, this is not what he means. He means the “Jewish people” dispersed all over the world, a people whose members belong to the American, French, Argentine nations – and, yes, also to the Polish and Greek nations.

How does a person become an American? By acquiring American citizenship. How does a person become French? By becoming a citizen of the French republic. How does a person become a Jew?

Ah, there’s the rub. According to the law of the State of Israel, a Jew is somebody whose mother is Jewish, or who has converted to the Jewish religion and not adopted any other religion. Ergo: the definition is purely religious, like that of a Muslim or a Catholic. Not at all like that of a Pole or a Greek. (In Jewish religion, it’s only the mother, not the father, who counts in this respect. Perhaps because one cannot be quite sure who the father is.)

There are in Israel hundreds of thousands of people who have immigrated from the former Soviet Union with their Jewish relatives, but are not Jewish according to the religious definition. They consider themselves Israelis in every respect, speak Hebrew, pay taxes, serve in the army. But they are not recognized as belonging to the Jewish people, to which, according to Avineri, the state belongs. Like the million and a half Israeli citizens who are Palestinian Arabs. The state does not belong to them, even though they enjoy – at least formally – full civil rights.

Simply put: the state belongs, according to Avineri, to millions of people who do not live here and who belong to other nations, but does not belong to millions of people who live here and vote for the Knesset.

Who has decided that this is a Jewish state? Avineri and many others assert that the character of the state was decided upon by the resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations of November 29th, 1947, which partitioned the country between a “Jewish state” and an “Arab state”.

Not true.

The UN did not decide upon a state which belongs to all the Jews in the world, any more than upon a state that belongs to all the Arabs in the world. The UN commission which investigated the conflict between the Jews and the Arabs in the country then called Palestine decided (very sensibly) that the only possible solution was to allot to each of the two national communities a state of its own. Nothing more.

In short: the words “Jewish” and “Arab” in the UN resolution have nothing to do with the character of the two states, but only define the two communities in the country that were to establish their states. They have no other meaning.

But a professor who comes to this conclusion would be hounded as a “post-Zionist” who must be expelled from his university. According to our little McCarthys, even the debate is absolutely verboten. Verboten to think. Verboten to write. Strictly verboten to speak. In every university there would be Zionist overseers to receive reports about the lectures of professors, check their publications, report what they hear from students who inform on other students, and safeguard ideological purity. Much like the “politruks” – political commissars – in the Soviet Union. Much like the cadres of the “cultural revolution” in China, when thousands of professors and other intellectuals were sent to labor camps or remote villages.

But the results of their labors may be very different from what they expect. Instead of making the term “post-Zionism” a synonym for treason, they may make the term “Zionism” a synonym for fascism, gladdening the hearts of all those around the world who preach a boycott of the “Jewish state”. When the Israeli universities are cleansed of non-conformist thinkers, it will indeed be easy to boycott them.

Occupied Palestine: Good News and Bad

United Nations Building hit with white phosphors during Gaza war (Sameh Habeeb, 2009)

Stephen Lendman, 25 June 2010

First the good.

On June 22, the International Middle East Media Center reported that the UN Human Rights Council (that established the Goldstone Commission) approved “forming an international committee to probe the deadly Israeli” Flotilla attack, massacring and injuring dozens of nonviolent activists on board. Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak urged Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to shelve it, saying:

“We expressed our view that for the time being, as long as….new flotillas are in the preparation, it’s probably better to leave (an investigation) on the shelf for a certain time” – in other words, postpone it long enough to forget, letting Israel’s self-examination whitewash top officials’ culpability, a vain hope given world outrage, mushrooming toward universally branding Israel a pariah rogue state.

The Human Rights Council (HRC) said committee officials will include lawyers and international law and human rights experts, the body to present its findings in September.

The European Campaign Against the Siege said the International Committee will contact Israel, Greece, Turkey, and the Freedom Flotilla coalition. It will also visit Gaza and urge Tel Aviv’s cooperation, what wasn’t given the Goldstone Commission, nor will be this time. However, with or without it, the investigation will proceed, exposing Israel’s culpability.

On June 1, the Russell Tribunal on Palestine (RTP) responded to the Flotilla massacre headlining, “All States and the international community must urgently take measures against Israel’s violations of international law,” explaining that:

Throughout its history, Israel has willfully, arrogantly, and repeatedly violated core international law principles without accountability. “These violations….involve Israel’s international responsibility, its obligation to make reparations for the damage resulting from these violations and the obligation of all States to prosecute and punish those responsible for these violations when they concern crimes against international law,” especially ones against peace – the supreme international crime.

RTP “insists” on the immediate and unconditional:

– “lifting of the blockade by Israel of humanitarian aid,” what Fourth Geneva and other international laws prohibit;

– ending the Gaza siege, also lawless and prohibited;

– “full and independent inquiry into the” Flotilla attack;

– “suspend(ing) of the EU/Israel Association Agreement in accordance with” its provisions; and

– implementation of the Goldstone Commission conclusions and recommendations.

Global human rights organizations agree, including BRussells Tribunal Executive Committee member, Dr. Ian Douglas, saying:

“Israel simply cannot face up to its own bloody origin. It is a settler state, founded in violence by individuals who came from outside Arab countries,” under rogue governments that support and instigate “terrorism.” The solution:

“The international community must cut all economic ties, all defense coordination and contracts, and all diplomatic, intellectual and cultural links with Israel until Zionism is recognized as racism. Until this happens, Israel continues to be the single biggest threat to world peace. The possibility of a better society will keep being suffocated by the black hole of Israel’s insistence on perpetuating injustice against the Palestinians,” – partnered with Washington, “indistinguishable from Tel Aviv, or vice versa. Obama is either unwilling (or) unable….to break from that….Palestinians have no hope in (him). He won’t help them, and never intended to.”

More good news – a first in America against Israel.

On June 20 in Oakland, CA, over 800 longshoremen pickets blocked the unloading of an Israeli ship, the ZIM Shenhen, chanting:

“Free, free Palestine. Don’t cross the picket line. An injury to one is an injury to all – the Israeli apartheid wall will fall.”

An ad hoc Labor/Community Committee in Solidarity with the People of Palestine organized the action. Allied groups included the Transport Workers Solidarity Committee, several Palestinian solidarity groups, the Bay Area ANSWER Coalition, and local labor activists.

Their boycott followed the earlier June International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 10 motion condemning the Flotilla massacre, “call(ing) for unions to protest (by) any action they choose to take.”

Organizations supporting the boycott included the Oakland Educational Association, San Francisco Labor Council, Alameda County Labor Council, Cuban Labor Federation, Labor for Palestine, the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions, and numerous other groups – in solidarity with Occupied Palestinians.

Good news from Sweden – another boycott

On June 23, the Swedish Dock Workers Union announced a weeklong nationwide blockade in all unionized ports, refusing to handle goods from or to Israel until June 29, and demanding more, including lifting the Gaza siege and allowing an independent international investigation of the Flotilla massacre.

Still more – cancellation of Turkey’s water sales to Israel.

On June 20, Israel National News.com’s Maayana Miskin reported that Turkey “cancelled the planned sale of 1.75 billion cubic feet of water per year to Israel,” a 20-year agreement abandoned over the Flotilla massacre, Turkish Energy and Natural Resources Minister, Taner Yildiz, saying sales have been halted unless Israel “apologizes and expresses its regret.”

Turkey also recalled its ambassador and froze a plan to supply Israel with Russian natural gas through an underwater pipeline.

Now the bad – a litany of Israeli crimes, some recent ones explained below.

On June 10, Palestine Think Tank.com contributor Kawther Salam headlined, “107 Israeli Crimes Against Palestinian Journalists,” saying:

Since January 2010, Israeli attacks included beatings, “breaking their cameras, preventing them from covering events, shooting at them deliberately, arresting and jailing them, fabricating serious charges, fining them, imposing high financial fines before releasing them from detention,” denying them access to East Jerusalem and other areas, and let “dozens of armed extremist settlers assault them and damage their cameras.”

This is how a police state operates when not waging all out war.

More bad news.

On June 22, the Palestine Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) headlined, “Continued Ethnic Cleansing and Measures Aimed at Creating Jewish Majority in Occupied Jerusalem,” in fact, an agenda to make all Jerusalem exclusively Jewish, dispossessing all non-Jews living there.

PCHR responded saying:

It “strongly condemns aggressive (Israeli) measures in East Jerusalem, which are part of a series of (others) aimed at ethnic cleansing,” and have included:

– bulldozing Palestinian houses on lands between Pisgat Ze’ev and Neve Ya’kov settlements to build 600 new units – approved a year earlier to link the two communities;

– the June 21 implemented “Israeli Municipality in Jerusalem decision to demolish 22 houses in al-Bustan neighborhood in Salwan village (to) establish ‘King David’s Garden’ ” on expropriated Palestinian land; on June 23, Haaretz writer Nir Hassan reported that East Jerusalem settlers “threatened to (hire private security firms to) forcibly evict four Palestinian families they claim are living on” Jewish Silwan property; East Jerusalem, in fact, is Occupied Palestinian territory, not belonging to invaders who have no business being there or legal right to the land;

– the June 20 Israeli High Court ruling, affirming the deportation of PLC member, Mohammed Abu Tir, a member of the Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform Bloc;

– the June 20 closing of the Ilaf Association for Education Support in Jerusalem, using falsified documents to claim Hamas held meetings there; and

– Israel’s ongoing lawlessness in violation of international law, including expropriating Palestinian land, what, so far, the international community won’t stop.

More bad.

On June 20, the US State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs warned Americans against traveling to Gaza, stopping short of saying those doing it will be prosecuted, but calling it “infiltrating” by flotillas or other means.

The warning “applies to all US citizens, including journalists and aid workers,” with no mention of the illegal siege, the Flotilla massacre, or repeated attacks against defenseless civilians. A week earlier, Britain issued a similar alert, suggesting UK citizens doing it wouldn’t be welcomed back home. Israel endorsed both statements from its closest allies, together comprising the real axis of evil.

Still more.

On June 20, Haaretz writer Barak Ravid exposed Netanyahu’s bogus siege easing, headlining “Netanyahu: Security blockade on Gaza will get stronger,” quoting him saying that despite letting in more “civilian” goods:

The “security closure will be tightened from now on (to) keep (weapons and “dual use” goods) out of Gaza,” claiming “Our friends around the world are getting behind our decision and giving international legitimacy to the security blockade on Hamas.”

So though designated foods, housewares, writing implements, mattresses and toys can enter, cement and shoes (among hundreds of other non-military items) remain banned, Israel bogusly calling them “dual use,” meaning materials potentially for violence and conflict.

On June 24, Gaza Gateway.org reported “no significant change in the volume of trucks entering Gaza,” despite the supposed easing – last week, 654, fewer than before the Flotilla massacre when 662 entered; this week through four of five allowed crossing days, 567, “consistent with the (imposed) policy since June 2007.”

Gaza Gateway said only one crossing operates at near capacity of about 110 trucks a day, five days a week permitted – Kerem Shalom (Kerem Abu Salam). Karni Crossing, Gaza’s commercial lifeline, able to handle 1,000 trucks per day, remains closed.

The Obama administration and virtually all members of Congress support the most lawless Israeli policies, including the siege, subsidizing them with billions of dollars annually, the latest weapons and technology, and virtually any special requests – to wage war, commit violence, maintain an illegal occupation against Palestinian civilians and the legitimate Hamas government, bogusly called terrorist.

Confirmation of PA/Israeli/Washington Complicity

According to a June 22 Asa Winstanley Electronic Intifada (EI) article headlined, “Exclusive: Leaked documents show PA undermined Turkey’s push for UN flotilla probe:”

“A document sent to Ibrahim Khraishi, (PA UN) representative in Geneva,” shows its officials tried but failed to “neutralize a (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) resolution condemning” the Flotilla massacre, by preventing an independent investigation and endorsing an Israeli one – a thinly veiled scheme to whitewash premeditated murder and absolve high-level culpability. Turkey rejected it out of hand. HRC approved an independent committee proceed and report back by September.

EI’s article and one document can be accessed through the following link:

http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11350.shtml

Last year, Fatah officials tried to undermine the Goldstone Commission’s findings, proving they ally with Israel against their own people.

Last October, however, when the Commission’s findings were adopted, Mahmound Abbas “was forced into a humiliating U-turn after an outpouring of disgust and protest from Palestinians around the world,” not diminishing his contempt for his own people. Perhaps theirs now for him enough to elect a new president serving them, not their oppressive occupier in league with its Washington paymaster/partner.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

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