June 27, 2010

Ehud Barak the War Criminal, by Carlos Latuff

EDITOR: The endgame is starting

As Zionism moves into its last frenetic stage, they up the stakes by going all out, ratcheting up violence and illegality, trying to grab all before the international starugle for just peace in Palestine is reaching its decisive juncture. This is the most dangerous time for all of us, and for a sane future in the Middle East – like South African apartheid in its last fateful years, they feel trapped and cornered, and will resort to desperate acts. This move is designed to start further trouble, so mass expulsions of Palestinians from the Jerusalem municipal area can be prepared as a method of changing the population balance in Jerusalem, before any international pressure on Israel can force it to share Jerusalem with Palestine.

We must redouble our efforts internationally, to isolate this criminal regime and all those who support its crimes, and the BDS campaign is one of the most effective tools at our disposal.

Planning committee to release blueprint outlining takeover of East Jerusalem: Haaretz

Approval of the plan is expected to result in a wave of protest from Palestinians and Arab states, as well as international criticism of the government in Israel.
By Akiva Eldar

The Jerusalem District Planning and Building Committee at the Interior Ministry will publish in the coming weeks a new blueprint program for development in Jerusalem that will include plans to expand Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. Most of the land earmarked for this expansion is privately owned by Arabs. If the plan is approved, after objections to it are heard, it will grant official approval to an urban plan for the Israeli takeover of East Jerusalem.

Approval of the plan is expected to result in a wave of protest from Palestinians and Arab states, as well as international criticism of the government in Israel. The U.S. administration has made it clear to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that it wants him to prevent all change to the status quo in Jerusalem until the completion of negotiations on a final-status settlement.
In October 2008, the District Planning and Building Committee decided to advance the blueprint plan, which was prepared by a team headed by Moshe Cohen, who was the Jerusalem planning official at the Interior Ministry.

Right wing elements and factions in the Jerusalem municipality complained to Interior Minister Eli Yishai that the plan would add large residential areas for the city’s Arab population, at the expense of open space and also argued it would take away from areas earmarked for Jews.

Mayor Nir Barkat ordered adjustments to the blueprint plan in line with his support for broadening Jewish presence in the Holy Basin in East Jerusalem.

Even though the National Planning and Building Committee had determined that the City of David would be categorized a “national park,” the blueprint plan allows the construction of residential areas there.

The Elad NGO, whose heads are close to Barkat, purchased in recent years homes in the village of Silwan, which is near the walls of the Old City, in order to “Judaize” the area.

Last week, the municipal planning and building committee approved Barkat’s plans to destroy 22 homes in the Al-Bustan neighborhood, in the southern part of Silwan. Barkat explained that illegal construction in the area is blocking the plan to transform Al-Bustan, also known as Gan Hamelech, into a part of the national park.

A spokesman for the Jerusalem municipality confirmed that “in the coming weeks the plan will be brought for discussion before the district committee.

A statement from the Interior Minister’s office said that “there are discussions at a professional level in order to approve the plan.”

interview with Ahmad Jaradat of the Alternative Information Center: AIC

Jaradat co-produced the recently released film Palestinian Window with Israeli producer Eran Torbiner. Additional information about the film, including how to order copies, may be found here:

Ahmad, thank you for speaking with us. You are one of the producers with Eran Torbiner of the new film Palestinian Window. Which kind of documentary is it?

Palestinian Window is an historical documentary film dealing with the Palestinian collective identity and culture through a direct portrait of different people, from the Nakba in 1948 until now. In their homeland and throughout thousands of years, Palestinians built and developed their identity and culture, which are now dispersed in the diaspora. Our life and our history – the most important elements for every nation – were attacked by the colonization of our land. You can lose one battle and then rise up but when you lose your identity, you have lost yourself.

Palestinians preserved their culture and identity despite very difficult events: the refugees took with them the keys of their homes and other symbols of their lands, villages and cities. They have strongly defended these values, fighting in the popular struggle and handing down their memory and culture for decades. From this perspective, we as the Alternative Information Center (AIC) and the Occupied Palestine and Syrian Golan Heights Advocacy Initiative (OPGAI) attempted through this film to show the common values and characteristics that the Palestinians aim to protect and promote. We interviewed Palestinians in West Bank, Gaza, Israel, Jordan and even in London. We asked simple questions and they also answered simply. We interviewed old men and women, boys and girls of different ages and socio-economic conditions. Deeply listening to them, we discovered that Palestine is still fixed in their minds and hearts: Palestine for them is their land, their villages and cities, the sea, the streets, the schools they attended. We unified all these elements in what we see as an educational film.

Which stories can you see through that “window”? What is the origin and the preparation of this documentary?
As anyone can see, the film is a portrait of different stories: the refugees in the camps, their exile walking through mountains and valleys, without anything but the keys and the memory of their homes and land; the stories of separation within families and between Gaza and West Bank, but also the Separation Wall, the checkpoints and all forms of limitations on freedom. We collected the story of a person who lost his son when the Israeli army killed him, and the life of a  woman who lives in Jordan while her daughter lives on the other side of the mountains and they cannot meet together. These are the stories of millions of Palestinians: the story of a man who lives in Europe, far from his family and his people; a person who participated in the popular struggle and subsequently spent the most important years of his life, his youth, inside a prison; the story of those who live under threat and fear because of settler attacks. All these individual and collective memories live and resist the Israeli occupation in order to build a new future in which the next generations will live normal and comfortable lives, as everyone should.

The Israeli director Eran Torbiner and you visited Palestinian people living very close to the Tel Rumeida settlement, near the Wall in Bil’in and in the diaspora in Jordan. How did people react to an Israeli and Palestinian working together?
Through their experience and daily struggle, Palestinians know that many Israelis belonging to different social levels and associations call for equal rights and to end the occupation. There are many Jews who would prefer to live with Palestinians and share their life in solidarity and many Israelis have a very clear political vision against the occupation, so it is not a new phenomenon to meet or see Jews who do this kind of work. Palestinians told Eran their stories simply and clearly, as if they were speaking with any other Palestinian.

What is your dream for the future of this documentary and the people you met through its preparation?
My dream is to achieve what we are looking for in doing the documentary: to strengthen and educate Palestinian children to know more about their people and its story directly from the those whose stories make up the Palestinian people. These memories were written on their skin, on their faces, in their feelings and their hopes, and these stories are still vivid and living. In this framework, we started to distribute and promote the film, especially with organizations, schools and cultural institutions in Palestine/Israel and abroad. We will show it on many local television stations. We will screen it for the Israelis and their children so they can see how their state was established and to make them aware of the personal and political realities of their occupation.

EDITOR: Why are they not stopping this?

A number of us have said this fora long time – for number of years, practically. Now that the western powers and others also realise this, why do they stand aside, allowing yet another disastrous atrocity by Israel to be committed? This may well put the Middle East into permanent turmoil. If they continue to desist, they will become themselves partners to this crime being prepared by Israel.

G-8 ‘fully believes’ Israel will attack Iran, says Italy PM: Haaretz

World leaders meet in Ontario for two days of talks, urge Iran to ‘respect rule of law’ and ‘hold transparent dialogue’ over its nuclear program.
World leaders “believe absolutely” that Israel may decide to take military action against Iran to prevent the latter from acquiring nuclear weapons, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Saturday.

“Iran is not guaranteeing a peaceful production of nuclear power [so] the members of the G-8 are worried and believe absolutely that Israel will probably react preemptively,” Berlusconi told reporters following talks with other Group of Eight leaders north of Toronto.
The leaders of the G-8, which comprises Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, Canada and the United States, devoted much of their two-day session to discussion of the contentious nuclear programs unfolding in North Korea and Iran.

The leaders issued a statement on Saturday calling on Iran to “respect the rule of law” and to “hold a “transparent dialogue” over its nuclear ambitions.

In their communiqué, the leaders of the world’s richest countries said they respected Iran’s right to a civilian nuclear program, but noted that such a right must be accompanied by commitment to international law.
“We are profoundly concerned by Iran’s continued lack of transparency regarding its nuclear activities and its stated intention to continue and expand enriching uranium, including to nearly 20 percent,” they said in a communique.

“Our goal is to persuade Iran’s leaders to engage in a transparent dialogue about its nuclear activities and to meet Iran’s international obligations,” adding that they urged the Islamic Republic “to implement relevant resolutions to restore international confidence in the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.”

Their conclusions followed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s declaration late last week that Tehran was prepared to lay down its conditions to the international community regarding discussion of its nuclear program.

Israeli protesters press Binyamin Netanyahu to help free abducted soldier Gilad Shalit: The Guardian

Supporters of the soldier seized by Hamas four years ago begin a march to Jerusalem to secure his freedom
Thousands of Israelis are expected to join a 12-day march across the country beginning today to put pressure on their government to secure the release of Gilad Shalit, the soldier abducted by Hamas four years ago.

The Shalit family and their supporters will set out from their home in Mitzpe Hila, Galilee, and take a winding route through Israel to Jerusalem. They hope to be joined by artists, musicians, rabbis, activists and “tens of thousands” of ordinary people. On arrival in Jerusalem, Noam Shalit, Gilad’s father, plans to establish a protest tent outside the home of the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, where he has pledged to remain until his son is freed.

“We don’t see any alternative after four years of government failure to obtain the release of my son,” Shalit told the Observer. “There have been many, many failures, but now it’s time to put public pressure on the government.”

The Shalits yesterday released a video urging Netanyahu to “pay the price” necessary for Gilad’s release. In a direct appeal, Noam Shalit says: “Enough talk. Now is the time for decisions.” Asked if “the price” – the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners – was too high for one soldier, he said: “The price is not our business to deal with.”

An opinion poll published on Friday showed that almost 75% of Israelis support the release of Palestinian prisoners serving sentences for militant attacks in return for Shalit’s freedom.

His fate has huge resonance in Israel, where military service is a requirement. Most families can identify closely with the Shalits’ loss. Gilad Shalit, then 19, was abducted and two other Israeli soldiers killed when militants burrowed underneath the border in southern Gaza to raid a military post on 25 June, 2006.

The Shalit family has asked Hamas to permit an exchange of letters, which has been refused, according to their lawyer Nick Kaufman. The International Red Cross has also been denied access, which Hamas says could reveal the soldier’s location, leading to an Israeli raid or air strike. Hamas last week claimed it had allowed Shalit to watch the France v Mexico World Cup match. Shalit, who has dual Israeli-French nationality, was “very sad” at France’s defeat, Hamas’s al-Aqsa satellite TV station reported.

There has been no direct proof-of-life evidence since Hamas released a video of the soldier last autumn, in which he was holding a Palestinian newspaper dated 14 September 2009, in exchange for the release of 20 women prisoners being held by Israel.

The Israeli media is backing the renewed Shalit family campaign, with most newspapers urging the government to strike a deal over his release.

Intense negotiations – brokered by the German intelligence agency, the BND – to reach an agreement with Hamas foundered earlier this year. Each side blames the other for the impasse.

Hamas’s list of prisoners to be released in exchange for Shalit is believed to include Marwan Barghouti, a popular Fatah leader serving five life sentences, and Ahmed Saadat, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who Israel believes was behind the assassination of tourism minister Rehavam Zeevi in 2001. “A deal is on the table,” said Kaufman. “It was brokered with the full co-operation of both sides. Israel essentially agreed to release the Palestinian prisoners, but to date Hamas hasn’t given a formal response.”

According to Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas official, negotiations came to a halt after the personal intervention of Netanyahu. Zahar told the Observer he was “fed up” with talking about Shalit but referred to earlier comments he had made blaming the Israelis for the breakdown in negotiations. However, there have also been suggestions that the deal was vetoed by Khaled Meshaal, the Hamas leader based in Damascus.

Shalit’s supporters fear that Israel’s agreement last weekend to ease its blockade of Gaza without the soldier’s release removes a point of leverage.

Both the Israeli government and the office of Tony Blair, who brokered the deal on the blockade, made explicit reference in statements on the need to renew efforts to secure Shalit’s release.

“Netanyahu was pushed into a corner and forced to make concessions. But Gilad was left out of the equation,” said Kaufman.

“The leader of this country has a responsibility to get Gilad Shalit back to his parents no matter what the cost.”

Mark Regev, Netanyahu’s spokesman, said: “We have a responsibility as a government to bring back Gilad Shalit. But the prime minister also has a collective responsibility, and to sign on the bottom line of Hamas’s demands would not be fulfilling that.”

UK, US Students Promote BDS: AIC

Wednesday, 23 June 2010 14:52     Emir Richmond for the Alternative Information Center (AIC)
In February 2009, Hampshire College became the first university in the US to divest from companies that profit from the Israeli occupation of Palestine. A two-year campaign by the college’s Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) encouraged the Board of Trustees to withdraw its funds from six particular companies in a move which the SJP called a “…groundbreaking decision follow[ing] in Hampshire’s history of being the first college in the country to divest from apartheid South Africa 32 years ago.”

Nobel Peace Prize laureate and world-renowned South African apartheid opponent, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, lauded the decision as a “…monumental and historic step in the struggle for Palestinian equality, self-determination and peace in the Holy Land by non-violent means. I see what these students have accomplished as a replica of the support of their college of our struggle against apartheid in South Africa. Hampshire College’s decision to divest should be a guiding example to all institutions of higher learning.”

Amidst much public and international attention, in late April of this year the University of California Berkley’s Student Association failed to pass a bill which would divest its funds from companies which provide the Israeli military with arms and technology. The Student Senate initially passed bill SB118A,which would withdraw investment in United Technologies and General Electric, which produce Apache Helicopters and F-16 jets and sell them to the Israeli army. However, the Association’s president vetoed the motion and subsequently the Senate came a single vote short of being able to overturn the veto of the decision, leaving the bill dead in the water.

The message from the student body was that this bill was not a political, anti-Israel sentiment, but a removal of student funds from corporations which facilitate and profit from war-crimes. The student body further intimated that the same action would be undertaken concerning any other country connected to illegal acts, such as the killing of civilians and denial of fundamental human rights, as Israeli military actions have been labeled by the United Nation’s Goldstone Report.

Now, while one may be inclined to dismiss student politics as inconsequential nurseries for aspiring young men and women lacking any real knowledge beyond the textbooks of their ivory towers, the actual power and awareness of these groups should not be underestimated. In 1986, the very same UC Berkley helped spearhead a coalition of universities calling for a withdrawal of investments in businesses operating within apartheid South Africa.

The Berkley student association has control over a $1.7 million budget, which goes some way to explaining the attention the bill received from outside the campus, including from numerous Nobel Peace Prize Laureates. Again, Archbishop Desmond Tutu praised students, commending Berkley’s “pioneering role in advocating equality in South Africa and promoting corporate ethical and social responsibility to end complicity in Apartheid”, in an open-letter of support to the campaign.

The most alarming anti-divestment support came from external bodies such as Jonathan Kessler of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), who ominously declared at the organisation’s policy conference that “…to beat back the anti-Israel divestment resolution at Berkeley[.] We’re going to make sure that pro-Israel students take over the student government and reverse the vote…This is how AIPAC operates in our nation’s capital. This is how AIPAC must operate on our nation’s campuses…” Kessler’s statement arguably throws light on the true potential of student politics if it can gather such powerful foes.

Across the Atlantic in the UK there has been always been stronger support within universities for the Palestinian cause; following Operation Cast Lead one newspaper described the occupation of 34 universities by students as “the biggest student revolt for 20 years.”

In October 2009, Sussex Students’ Union became the first in the UK to execute a comprehensive boycott of Israeli goods, withdrawing produce from campus restaurants and shop shelves. The motion was passed through a student referendum which saw a turnout of over a thousand students, the largest in its history, indicating wide support for the boycott movement rather than the actions of a politically active minority. Manchester, Essex, Goldsmith and SOAS, to name a few, have all utilised the power of student politics to make BDS resolutions within their institutions.

More recently, on 30 May, a day before the attack on the Gaza-bound Freedom Flotilla prompted international criticism, the University and College Union (UCU), the largest academic union in the UK which includes both staff and students, voted by an overwhelming majority to “sever all relations with the Histadrut” and investigate relations with the Ariel University Center, located in the West Bank. This move was described by the British Committee for Universities for Palestine (BRICUP) as “an indicator of the consolidation of world opinion in favour of BDS.” In the same vein, the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) described the move as “courageous” in that the Histadrut has a long standing partnership in the Israeli state’s colonization, ethnic cleansing and racial discrimination against the Palestinian people.

What these events exemplify is the importance of academic institutions as a social and political base for international politics and fighting for social justice. Rahul Patel, a Student Senator from UC Berkley, reflected how “student government can be a space to mobilize and make decisions that have a significant impact on the international community.” Student developments should not be overlooked. Just as Archbishop Tutu commented that with South Africa “students played a leading role in that struggle,” concerning Palestine and Israel this voice may become just as important.

EDITOR: Cynicism without limits…

Zionism has made a method out of twisting the truth and denying evidence, so why should we be surprised? There is nothing they will stop at. To those people, the freedom of one (live) Jew is worth the killing of thousands of Palestinians, and enslaving the rest of them. Is freedom divisible? Are such rights for Jews only?

New York Jews sail ‘True Freedom Flotilla’ for Gilad Shalit: Haaretz

New York’s Jewish community marks four years since the abduction of the Israeli soldier by Gaza militants.
New York’s Jewish community was set to mark four years since the abduction of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by Gaza militants with what they call the “True Freedom Flotilla.”

The name chosen for the event echoes the name of a recent 8-ship flotilla that sailed from Turkey toward Gaza to break the Israeli blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory, which was named the Freedom Flotilla.

The flotilla was to encircle the Statue of Liberty and then sail to United Nations building.

The two-hour event was to involve seven vessels: The Queen of Hearts which can hold up to 600 passengers, another smaller boat and five privately owned yachts.

The flotilla was organized by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, an umbrella group of American Jewish organizations. Israel’s mission to the UN has also joined the initiative, as did Israel’s Consulate General in New York.

Boats were scheduled to move north on the East River at 12:00 noon New York time on Thursday, June 24th from Houston Street and West Side Highway. The flotilla can be viewed from the East River Esplanade. Entrance to the Esplanade is on the east side of First Avenue at 34th, 35th or 37th Streets.

“For four years, Hamas has denied Gilad Shalit the most basic rights, including visits by international organizations,” Israel’s ambassador to the UN said on Thursday, adding that this was both illegal and immoral.

Joel Lion, the Spokesperson and Consul for Media Affairs at the Consulate General of Israel in New York, has put together a package full of clothing and food which was to be handed to a Red Cross representative to be brought to Shalit though the organization’s international channels.

Dubai police chief: Dagan ousted because Israel won’t ‘accept losers': Haaretz

PMO silent on report Dagan’s term as Mossad chief won’t be extended; Intelligence sources say Dagan has yet to prepare a successor.
Dubai police chief Dahi Khalfan Tamim on Sunday commented on reports that the term of Mossad chief Meir Dagan would not be extended, saying Dagan should have resigned long ago and that Israel doesn’t accept “losers.”
“Dagan should have stepped down a long time ago as his intelligence service has been exposed by Dubai police,” Tamim said in an interview with the Emirati newspaper Gulf News. “We suggested to him that he resign in order to save his honor, but he didn’t do that.”

Channel 2 news reported on Friday that Dagan has been denied another year in his post and will step down in three months’ time.

Tamim also said he is not ruling out an international arrest warrant being issued for Dagan over the January killing of a Hamas commander in Dubai, which is widely believed to have been carried out by Mossad agents using forged European and Australian passports.

“I would like to seek his arrest,” said Tamim, “but there is still time for everything.”

The Prime Minister’s Office has refused to comment on a report that Dagan will step down in a few months after eight years on the job. In addition to the report on Channel 2 News Friday night, Mossad sources and media analysts have said Dagan’s term would not be extended.

The PMO probably wants the announcement to appear orderly and save everyone from embarrassment, including the prime minister.

The second issue on the PMO’s priority list is to find the right candidate to replace Dagan. No decision has been reached on the matter, which depends on a number of developments.

A big problem is that Dagan, because of his alleged questionable management methods and personality, did not bother preparing a successor. During his eight years at the top of the Mossad, he forced three of his deputies, people he had appointed, to leave the organization.

First to step down was Hagai Hadas, who is now representing the prime minister in the negotiations for the release of captive soldier Gilad Shalit. Hadas left when he learned that Dagan did not intend to keep his promise to appoint him to the organization’s number-two position.

Then T. stepped down after serving as chief of operations. He had been on a study sabbatical; upon his return Dagan refused to promise that he would recommend him to be the Mossad’s next chief.

In his place, Dagan appointed N. as his deputy, but forced him out after accusing him of leaking information to a journalist.

N. was replaced by R., who was a field agent. R. has no experience in other divisions of the organization, so people familiar with the situation say he is not likely to be appointed Dagan’s replacement because senior Mossad figures do not think he has the necessary skills.

As such, among the likely candidates is Hadas, who in the past year has served in a position very close to Benjamin Netanyahu, despite the stigma of having connections to a business suspected of fraud.

Another option is that the job will be offered to T., but there is also talk of appointing a general in the Israel Defense Forces to the post. That will only be finalized after appointments that will determine the next chief of staff.

A problem with the latter option is that Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi will only agree to the announcement of his replacement in November. Early assessments have three IDF generals as candidates for the job: Yoav Gallant, Benny Gantz and Gadi Eizenkot. However, the prime minister knows he cannot wait until November to appoint the Mossad’s next head.

The head of Military Intelligence, Amos Yadlin, who is stepping down in November after five years on the job, has been mentioned as a likely candidate.

Another name being raised is current Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin, whose tenure ends next year and who once served as Dagan’s adviser on terrorism. But Diskin is not interested in the job.

Loving Israel by hating Obama: Haaretz

It’s become a fashion, here and abroad: Jews who are convinced that they love Israel more than the rest of us – and certainly better than the rest of us – have told anyone who will listen that one way to express love of the Jewish state is to revile Barack Obama.
By Bradley Burston
“I’ve got a home in that rock, just beyond the mountaintop … God gave Noah the rainbow sign / No more water – but the fire next time.”

– African-American spiritual

It’s become a fashion, here and abroad: Jews who are convinced that they love Israel more than the rest of us – and certainly better than the rest of us – have told anyone who will listen that one way to express love of the Jewish state is to revile Barack Obama.

This month, as the American president visited the Middle East, the fashion turned ugly. On the Sabbath, Israeli television viewers were treated to the “recorded-on-a-weekday” observations of Areleh, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Karnei Shomron, grinning as he watched the progress of a fire intentionally set on Palestinian land near Havat Gilad, an icon of the outlaw outpost movement.

Asked by Israel Channel 2 TV reporter Shai Gal how he would respond if security forces arrived to evacuate the outpost, Areleh replied: “At most, they’ll demolish one measly shack, so they’ll have something to show … that kushon [a Hebrew slur equivalent to the “N” word] in the United States, in order to have an etnan [the biblical term for a fee paid to a prostitute] to give him – if you [secular] guys know what an etnan is.”

And should that happen, according to Areleh, it will be followed by yet another fire – a form of preemptive revenge and the price Palestinians will be forced to pay each time Obama presses Israel to “lay a hand on any settlement of any kind, any place in Judea and Samaria.”

For sheer racism and Obama-hate masquerading as love of Israel, however, nothing comes close to the filth documented in a new short film entitled “Feeling the Hate in Jerusalem on the Eve of Obama’s Cairo Address.” This three-minute video, by Americans Max Blumenthal, a journalist-filmmaker, and Joseph Dana, a recent immigrant to Israel, has become an overnight Internet sensation. It shows a collection of U.S. Jewish visitors to Israel, most of them college-age and plainly and proudly drunk, toasting each other in a Jerusalem bar as they vie for the twin crowns of lover of Israel and loather of Obama.

“He’s a Muslim for sure, and who even knows if he was born in the United States,” says one young woman, who identifies herself as a political science major. “We haven’t even seen his birth certificate yet. Bullshit – he’s not from the U.S. He’s like a terrorist.”

Another of the young American Jews calls Obama “just another n—– from the town.”

Understandably, Jews abroad have voiced fears that the unapologetic racism embodied in this ostensibly ultra-Zionist criticism of Obama could spark anti-Semitic incidents, further strain black-Jewish relations and add fuel to anti-Israel fires.

The anti-Obama slurs come at a time when confusing hatred of “the other” with support for Israel is becoming increasingly trendy. From historically liberal Minnesota, Chabad Rabbi Manis Friedman contributed the following to an “Ask the Rabbis” discussion conducted by the North American Jewish magazine Moment, in which respondents were asked, “How should Jews treat their Arab neighbors?”

“I don’t believe in Western morality – i.e., don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites, don’t fight during holiday seasons, don’t bomb cemeteries, don’t shoot until they shoot first because it is immoral,” Rabbi Friedman began.

“The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle),” he continued.

A storm of criticism ensued. Friedman later issued a clarification, stating that it was “obvious, I thought, that any neighbor of the Jewish people should be treated, as the Torah commands us, with respect and compassion.”

Seldom has such an attitude been less obvious. We live at a time when an avowed Kahanist is a serving Knesset member, when overtly anti-Arab Knesset bills blacken Israel’s name the world over, and Jewish talkbackers and bloggers think nothing of denigrating Islam and African-Americans in the name of some cockeyed personal battle against world anti-Semitism.

The haters of Obama, the haters of Arabs, and the outpost gunslingers should bear in mind what happened at the end of that Channel 2 report on the Gilad Farm activists: Not long after they started the fire on their neighbors’ field, smoke and flames were licking at their own houses.

Bradley Burston is senior editor of haaretz.com.

Mad Israelis section

This section is devoted to the many unhinged in Israel whose voice should be heard…. to separate its contributors from others, less nutty correspondents, their names have been coloured red.

Israel Harel is not new to those interested in mad Israelis, but is new to the section here, and we welcome him as one of the leading nutters in Israeli politics.

Exhausting ourselves to death: Haaretz

There is something strange, perhaps even perverted, when Arabs support Israel – not so? And Israel – this is the essence of its complex – is attracted in some strange way to those who deny its existence and murder its sons.
Israel Harel
The psychological term, False Self, refers to a person whose entire conduct is derived from the way others expect him to behave. This is a person who has relinquished his personality and individuality, and for whom every murmur of criticism is a source of anxiety, confusion and panic. What is true of an individual can also be true of a public, and even of a nation.

The Jewish character, as the result of unfortunate historical events, is sensitive to an extreme degree about “what the goyim will say.” Most of the writers who revived Hebrew poetry and fiction in the early years of national revival devoted a considerable part of their work to the description, and rejection, of these feelings of inferiority.

This literature had a great effect on the Jewish youth who aspired to free themselves from these complexes. The State of Israel was set up by those who managed ‏(some of them, it transpires, only partly‏) to set themselves free. The hopes of the founding fathers were that those who would grow up with the state, and certainly their offspring, would reach a balance.

However the events of this past week have once again made it clear just how agitated and fearful we have remained, certainly in this respect; to what extent we have acted like an insecure community in the face of the flood of defamation from every direction. And what is most symptomatic is that we do not stop flagellating ourselves over not having done enough to provide “information” to those who hate us, as if they do not know the truth. For after all, had we simply provided them information ‏(hasbara‏), they would have become our admirers rather than our enemies.

The writers of the national revival vehemently attacked the Jews for accepting the goys’ wickedness toward them and pointed an accusatory finger at themselves. The extent of their success is borne out by David Grossman and Amos Oz, who this week wrote articles reflecting primeval Jewish fears together with the desire to placate those who belong to that world of “What will they say.” The words of Chaim Weizmann were truer now than ever before: It is easier to take the Jews out of the galut ‏(Diaspora‏) than it is to take the galut out of the Jews.

Most of the Israeli media did not immediately begin expressing regret over mistakes. The problem started when most of the world’s media started to take a stance against Israel, as if that was something new. Here, instead of deciding at a certain stage that we had enough of these critical reports, the media continued to stuff the public, which anyway was despondent, with an endless torrent of contemptuous remarks and scenes from the demonstrations held by Israel’s worst enemies.

And the public, who no one bothered to tell that a demonstration by a few hundred Arabs in New York was a failure and certainly did not express the public sentiment in the United States, continued to be worn out. Television news presenters Yonit Levy and Yaakov Eilon, who were highly disturbed by the fact that their colleagues in New York and Washington were angry, broadcast the criticism time after time, because after all it is the public’s “right to know.”

At the same time, not a word was said about the supportive attitude of TV stations that are viewed by tens of millions of Americans − true, they are not the majority on the campuses nor the majority of the readers of The New York Times − where the anchors and viewers actually love Israel, respect it for not bowing to terror and for constituting, even if not by choice, the front line of western civilization.

If “world public opinion” is reflected in the pictures of several hundred protesters in several dozen cities in the world ‏(except for Istanbul, there was not even one real demonstration‏), then indeed “the whole world is against us.” But this specific world was against us a long time before the flotilla, and it will remain so even after the waves wash over it. The hatred for Israel among those who hate us is basic, inborn, and not the result of the present conduct of the Israeli government, its citizens or its army.

As we noted, there is “another” world, a world that supports Israel. For some reason, we know almost nothing about it. Diplomats, businessmen and especially tourists meet it. That world looks at what is happening here and has the feeling, even if it has reservations about us, that we deserve support; because if we fail, the day will not be far off when they, too, will have to face some of the difficult events we are facing now.

However, Israel shakes off those who support it. It does not feel good in their presence. In the past, it scorned those Arabs who supported it and called them collaborators, and more than once left them in the hands of their enemies, as happened with the village associations in Judea and Samaria and the Christians in south Lebanon.

After all, there is something strange, perhaps even perverted, when Arabs support Israel − not so? And Israel − this is the essence of its complex − is attracted in some strange way to those who deny its existence and murder its sons. But this attraction considered neither strange nor perverted.

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