March 2012

March 31, 2012

EDITOR: The signs of Apartheid

One of the telltale signs of apartheid is the fact that different people are treated differently by the law and order forces. In South Africa, blacks could not expect justice under the law; neither can Palestinian Arab citizens of Israel, not to mention Palestinians of the OPT. Though all the evidence is available on the security cameras on the mall, nobody has yet been charged. No doubt we will have an extremely long and detailed inquiry, so long that by the time it ends, no one but the beaten Arabs will remember this…

Jerusalem-style mauling: Haaretz

The anti-Arab rampage at the Malha Mall last Monday almost missed being reported altogether. People working there say violence by Beitar soccer fans is getting worse.
By Gideon Levy
Firas Juabber sits bent over in his tiny glass menagerie. On the sawdust-covered floor beneath him run hamsters, rabbits and parrots. From time to time a mother or a father − ultra-Orthodox, secular or Palestinian − knocks on the door of the glass cell, waving a NIS 12 ticket purchased at the adjacent pet shop, which is called Jungle. The ticket is for entry into Juabber’s petting corner at Jerusalem’s Malha Mall. Juabber opens the glass door and times the visit on his cellphone: 15 minutes per child. Sometimes a child is allowed to stay for 20 minutes. Parents get in for free.

Customers at the Malha mall. Photo by: Alex Levac

On Monday evening last week, Juabber was sitting as usual in his glass bubble, where he has worked for about a year now, waiting for the children and the parents with their cameras. At around 10 P.M. he heard sounds of angry commotion from the floor above him, where the food court is situated.

Juabber, a strong and muscular resident of the Old City , his hair anointed with gel, says he wasn’t scared. “The only one I fear is God,” is his favorite sentence. The voices grew louder and clearer: “Death to the Arabs” and “Mohammed is dead,” accompanied by thuds of punching and blows. Young men could be seen chasing after Arab employees.

At the stadium across the way, another Beitar Jerusalem soccer match had just ended; this time the home team had won. Hundreds of fans dressed in yellow swarmed toward the mall as part of their usual victory celebration.

Juabber says the first victims of the chaos that ensued were members of an East Jerusalem family, a mother, a father and their children. According to testimonies we gathered this week, after them, another 15 Arabs were beaten. There is also testimony about a stabbing, which has not been confirmed. The thousands of eyewitnesses who were at the mall at the time, the Israel Police, and the mall management − none of them bothered to report the incident to the public. Only four days later, on March 23, did word of the rampage come to its attention by means of a report in Haaretz.

This is the “triangle” of violence in Jerusalem: the Holyland housing project to the west, the wild Teddy Stadium to the east and in between, the Malha Mall. Until three years ago, rampages by fans were a frequent occurrence, but in recent years there have been hardly any, certainly not like this last one.

The mall covers 400,000 square meters of commercial space, and contains 250 shops. Between 3,000 and 4,000 people work there, several hundred of whom are Arabs, and there are 30,000 to 40,000 visitors daily. Malha Mall is not as elegant as the Ramat Aviv Mall and not as vulgar as the Azrieli Mall or as winding and mysterious as Dizengoff Center, both in Tel Aviv.

This is a modest and typical Jerusalem-style place. One stand offers two hamsas − amulets in the shape of hands − for NIS 10, mezuzahs and crocheted skullcaps; Ushi-Ushi Sushi serves up pareve sushi, certified kosher by the Beit Yosef Badatz ultra-Orthodox rabbinical court, with the seal of the Gaon Rabbi Ovadia Yosef ‏(may he live a long life!‏) on every roll; and the evening prayer service is announced over the loudspeaker, and is taking place at the mall synagogue, which is tucked between the bathrooms and the security office. The shops are relatively small, there are a few international brands alongside veteran Jerusalemite street stores, and a lot of shops selling baked goods.

The crowd here is also very Jerusalemite: ultra-Orthodox alongside secular, settlers alongside Arabs. In better times, so says the urban legend, this mall was also a destination for shoppers, especially women, from Jordan and Qatar. At one time, there was also a Beitar Jerusalem shop there.

Legendary Beitar soccer player Uri Malmilian is gone, Eli Ohana has been forgotten, and like them, Arcadi Gaydamak, who owned the club for a while. And now this black Monday has come. The mall management will tell us that it came to them “out of the blue” − using the English phrase. But people working there will tell us it happens after nearly every match, even if not so violently.

The public relations office for the Azrieli chain of shopping malls has forbidden the management to give interviews, although the general manager, Gideon Avrami, did convene the Arab employees the day after the pogrom. He apologized and told them that he sees dishonoring them as comparable to dishonoring his own children; he also said the “chain’s policy” forbade him to speak with the press.

Quite a number of store owners were also leery of being interviewed this week, certainly by name, whether out of fear of the fans or fear of the management. At the entrance to the modest management offices is a colorful wall hanging: a portrait of entrepreneur David Azrieli between the Israeli flag and the Druze flag, and the inscription: “To David

Azrieli from the Buq’ata team. The Druze in the north, from the workers of Buq’ata in the Golan Heights.” Azrieli established the synagogue at the mall in memory of his father, according to what is written on the sign at the entrance. Five men are praying there now.

“Drink your coffee and talk about it in English,” exhorts an advertisement for the language school in the mall.

This week there was little talk about the incident, in Hebrew or in English; the mall had returned to the rush of pre-Passover holiday shopping. “We’ve exhausted the topic,” said the proprietor of a falafel stand.

Exhausted it? It was only this week that the Jerusalem District police remembered there had been an incident, and considered that it was worth investigating and making arrests; the police commissioner issued a reprimand.

“Teddy should be shut down,” says N., the well-groomed and pleasant manager of a clothing store, about the stadium across the way. She has two sons in the Givati Brigade, one in the special operations unit and one a commander, and she says she never allowed them to go to

Beitar games. Once she traveled with them to Barcelona and bought them tickets to a soccer game there, however.

N. is enraged: “There’s no sporting spirit at Teddy. It’s just violence − what happens when our young people don’t know how to distinguish between good and evil. Unparalleled violence and racism. I get a twinge in my heart when I see all these young people, especially after games. It’s like a bad dream. You have to bring reporters here to see what happens in this place after every game. Some day something will happen. Some day a disaster will happen here. Someone will pay a heavy price. It’s been one incident after another and it’s getting worse.”

Last Monday, when the rioting took place, N. was in her shop. She would not step out, she was so scared.

“I’m also not prepared to see this. It’s unpleasant. Shouting, blows and running around,” she says. “It’s beyond fear. My heart aches for our young people. This can only be brought to an end if they shut down Teddy for half a year, until they learn. Somebody has to pick up the reins. To shut down Teddy and to say it will open only under such and such conditions.

“They should take five planes a month and fly the fans abroad, so they’ll learn how to behave. They should take them to Singapore and show them the education and the behavior there. And the main thing is not to dismiss what has happened here, because it will end badly.

“What is a mall? It’s a place for enjoyment. Tell me, does this happen in Tel Aviv? Do you people there in Tel Aviv hear these things? We’re heavy in Jerusalem. Once a week I go down to Tel Aviv, to breathe a little normalcy. The lightness, the humor, something different there.

A quick trip abroad. There are wonderful places in Jerusalem, and there is the Machneyuda Restaurant, which is unlike any restaurant in Tel Aviv, but it’s a hard city, Jerusalem. Maybe some day I’ll move to Tel Aviv. After what happened on Monday I’ve been thinking about it more. Just don’t mention my name, so the fans won’t come after me. I am afraid of them.”

We go down one floor, to the scene of the crime, the fast food court, which is also strictly Jerusalemite: “With Heaven’s help, falafel and shwarma from all our heart,” says one sign. In the security videos documenting the rampage this sign stands out above the heads of the rowdies.

To the left are the dairy restaurants, to the right the meat restaurants and in between was the focus of the violence. A., the proprietor of a food stall, is not prepared to give his name. “I don’t want to get in trouble.”

He used to be a Beitar fan, even played for it, but no longer. It used to be the fans were innocent, he continues, but now they are people who hate. Before every Beitar game at Teddy he asks his Arab workers to go home; he says they accept this with understanding. On Monday evening he closed down the business immediately. He loses money because of the hooligans, he adds.

Juabber from the glass menagerie reconstructs: “What a mess. They came upstairs and started to curse the Arabs. Every Arab who was walking around the mall, they beat him up. They curse us, they don’t want Arabs. And they also threw cans full of garbage. This will happen again and again and again, because it’s like this every time. Beitar Jerusalem has the worst racism in the country.

“What can you do? There’s nothing to be done. Only God. This isn’t the first time it’s happened like this and it’s not the last. And it makes me hate them, because they hate us. It increases our hatred of them. And some day blood will be spilled here. What blood? Palestinian blood, definitely Palestinian.”

Juabber has a parrot at home − he has a photo of it, bright red, in his phone. It’s called Ala, and all the Jews think it’s called Allah. Ala the parrot knows only 10 or 15 words. A young ultra-Orthodox man comes into the menagerie with his son, and Juabber has to time his petting visit.


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March 30, 2012

Today is Land Day in Palestine, with hundreds of activities planned -

follow the news channels for updates!


EDITOR: The deep friendship between Islamophobia and Philo-Zionism

Anne Karpf, in an excellent piece in the Guardian, is incisive about this new-found love between Euro Neonazis and Zionism, a friendship deeply rooted in their common hatred of Islam and the Arab world, and their shared innate racism. The ruling parties of Europe, all right wing and market-oriented, are not far behind, of course, as Sarkozy, Cameron and Berlusconi have proven time and again. Israel has carefully honed Islamophobia, orientalist racism and the myth of Arabs as terrorists, until it became the leading ideology of the west. We ignore this at our peril.


Don’t be fooled. Europe’s far-right racists are not discerning: Guardian

Opportunistic words of love for Jews and Israel cannot disguise the European far right’s toxic rhetoric of hatred
Anne Karpf, Tuesday 27 March 2012 19.30 BST

On Saturday, in the Danish city of Aarhus, a Europe-wide rally organised by the English Defence League will try to set up a European anti-Muslim movement. For Europe’s far-right parties the rally, coming so soon after the murders in south-west France by a self-professed al-Qaida-following Muslim, marks a moment rich with potential political capital.

French politician Marine Le Pen is among European far-right figures courting the Jewish community. Photograph: Anne-Christine Poujoulat/AFP/Getty Images

Yet it’s also a delicate one, especially for Marine Le Pen. Well before the killings, Le Pen was assiduously courting Jews, even while her father and founder of the National Front, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was last month convicted of contesting crimes against humanity for saying that the Nazi occupation of France “wasn’t particularly inhumane”. Marine must disassociate herself from such sentiments without repudiating her father personally or alienating his supporters. To do so she’s laced her oft-expressed Islamophobia (parts of France, she’s said, are suffering a kind of Muslim “occupation”) with a newfound “philozionism” (love of Zionism), which has extended even to hobnobbing with Israel’s UN ambassador.

Almost all European far-right parties have come up with the same toxic cocktail. The Dutch MP Geert Wilders, leader of the anti-immigrant Freedom party, has compared the Qur’an to Mein Kampf. In Tel Aviv in 2010, he declared that “Islam threatens not only Israel, Islam threatens the whole world. If Jerusalem falls today, Athens and Rome, Amsterdam and Paris will fall tomorrow.”

Meanwhile Filip Dewinter, leader of Belgium’s Vlaams Belang party, which grew out of the Vlaams Blok Flemish nationalist party, many of whose members collaborated with the Nazis during the second world war, has proposed a quota on the number of young Belgian-born Muslims allowed in public swimming pools. Dewinter calls Judaism “a pillar of European society”, yet associates with antisemites, while claiming that “multi-culture … like Aids weakens the resistance of the European body”, and “Islamophobia is a duty”.

But the most rabidly Islamophobic European philozionist is Heinz-Christian Strache, head of the Austrian Freedom party, who compared foreigners to harmful insects and consorts with neo-Nazis. And yet where do we find Strache in December 2010? In Jerusalem alongside Dewinter, supporting Israel’s right to defend itself.

In Scandinavia the anti-immigrant Danish People’s party is a vocal supporter of Israel. And Siv Jensen, leader of the Norwegian Progress party and staunch supporter of Israel, has warned of the stealthy Islamicisation of Norway.

In Britain EDL leader Tommy Robinson, in his first public speech, sported a star of David. At anti-immigrant rallies, EDL banners read: “There is no place for Fascist Islamic Jew Haters in England”.

So has the Jew, that fabled rootless cosmopolitan, now suddenly become the embodiment of European culture, the “us” against which the Muslim can be cast as “them”? It’s not so simple. For a start, “traditional” antisemitism hasn’t exactly evaporated. Look at Hungary, whose ultra-nationalist Jobbik party is unapologetically Holocaust-denying, or Lithuania, where revisionist MPs claim that the Jews were as responsible as the Nazis for the second world war.

What’s more, the “philosemite”, who professes to love Jews and attributes superior intelligence and culture to them, is often (though not always) another incarnation of the antisemite, who projects negative qualities on to them: both see “the Jew” as a unified racial category. Beneath the admiring surface, philozionism isn’t really an appreciation of Jewish culture but rather the opportunistic endorsement of Israeli nationalism and power.

Indeed you can blithely sign up to both antisemitism and philozionism. Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik described himself as “pro-Zionist” while claiming that Europe has a “considerable Jewish problem”; he saw himself as simultaneously anti-Nazi and pro-monoculturalism. The British National party’s Nick Griffin once called the Holocaust the “Holohoax”, subsequently supported Israel in its war “against the terrorists”, but the day after the Oslo murders tweeted disparagingly that Breivik was a “Zionist”.

Most Jews, apart from the Israeli right wing, aren’t fooled. They see the whole iconography of Nazism – vermin and foreign bodies, infectious diseases and alien values – pressed into service once again, but this time directed at Muslims. They understand that “my enemy’s enemy” can easily mutate into “with friends like these …”.

The philozionism of European nationalist parties has been scrutinised most closely by Adar Primor, the foreign editor of Haaretz newspaper, who insists that “they have not genuinely cast off their spiritual DNA, and … aren’t looking for anything except for Jewish absolution that will bring them closer to political power.”

Similarly Dave Rich, spokesman of the Community Security Trust (CST), which monitors antisemitic incidents in Britain, told me that far-right philosemites “must think we’re pretty stupid if they think we’ll get taken in by that. The moment their perceived political gain disappears they revert to type. We completely reject their idea that they hate Muslims so they like Jews. What targets one community at one time can very easily move on to target another community if the climate changes.” Rich’s words, spoken before the murder of Jews in Toulouse, now sound chillingly prescient. The president of the French Jewish community, Richard Pasquier, judges Marine Le Pen more dangerous than her father.

French Muslim leaders rallied round Jewish communities last week. Next week sees the start of Passover, a festival celebrating the liberation of Jews from slavery in Egypt, when Jews often think about modern examples of oppression. Let’s hope that French Jewish leaders use the occasion to rally round Muslim communities, and to remember that ultimately, racism is indiscriminate.

Islamophobia as a political ploy: Guardian CoF

The fixation with diagnosing Islam’s ills may mask deeper anxieties about upheavals in European and American societies
Usman Ahmedani, Thursday 29 March 2012

Irshad Manji's arguments 'perpetuate the tendency to think of Muslims as Muslims first and alone'. Photograph: Sarah Lee for the Guardian

Consider the case of a controversial cartoon. Not the notorious Danish cartoons, but a cartoon published in the New York Post last month. A response to revelations that emerged in February about the NYPD’s large-scale spying on American Muslim students after 9/11, it portrayed three hook-nosed, turbaned terrorists complaining that the police were spying on them. In doing so, it insinuated a link between the terrorists the NYPD is meant to monitor and the innocent American citizens whose civil liberties were deliberately breached.

I was reminded of this cartoon during Irshad Manji’s recent talk at a Free Speech Debate event at Oxford University. Manji opposes all legal prohibitions on free speech, even to the point of permitting the publication of death threats against herself. While certainly idiosyncratic, this position is internally consistent, avoiding the hypocrisy that habitually bedevils attempts to ban certain types of free speech on the grounds of offence but not others. However, once we accept that the state should not play the role of censor, an absolutist defence of free speech as “life itself”, as Salman Rushdie once put it, cannot tell us how to judge between individual instances of its exercise.

Looking at a cartoon that portrays American Muslims as terrorists-to-be from the perspective of free speech versus censorship alone absolves us from asking what the intention behind it is, or what context it appears in. The context in this case is one of increasing Islamophobia in Europe and North America, from the furore caused by proposals for a mosque in Manhattan to the fact that provision of halal meat has become a defining issue in the French presidential campaign.

The depiction of Muslims in the New York Post as hook-nosed Semites is no coincidence, sharing much in common with the anti-Jewish stereotypes widely prevalent not so long ago, when attacks on Jews as people masqueraded as critiques of their religious practices. This makes it difficult to uphold a classical liberal distinction between criticising “beliefs” and criticising “people”, for the two are conflated in the racialised manner in which Muslims are often discussed.

Nor is this a simple matter of isolating the far right, for anti-Muslim animus can unite liberals and conservatives, as demonstrated by the Danish cartoon controversy. For the right, Muslims are to be excluded for not fitting into a Christian conception of the west; for sections of the left, because Islam is regarded as alien to a secular Enlightenment defined as European in origin.

While they differ over the character of their preferred “reformist Islam”, both Manji and the Islamists she castigates are on shared ground in assuming that the trouble lies in one interpretation of Islam and that the solution lies in another. But in fact the problem lies in framing this as a discussion about Islam as a religion to begin with, as happens in the never-ending debates about the compatibility of Islam with liberalism, democracy, or free speech. Such a framing puts the burden on a minority to prove its compatibility with the prejudices of a majority. This perpetuates the tendency, among both Muslims and non-Muslims, to think of Muslims as Muslims first and alone, rather than treating their concerns as those of any other citizen, for whom religion is one marker among many, including class and ethnicity.

“Moderate Muslims,” Manji writes in Allah, Liberty and Love, “are so consumed with western colonialism that they’ve diverted themselves from dealing with the imperialists inside Islam.” Yet the existence of Muslims who use accusations of Islamophobia as a political ploy to shut down dissent within Muslim communities does not make the reality of Islamophobia irrelevant. After all, antisemitism is no less real just because it has been exploited as a smear with which to silence critics of Israel. Muslims and non-Muslims alike have always engaged critically and creatively with the Islamic tradition, both reverently and irreverently.

Their right to do so must be beyond question. However, criticism of religion does not exist in a vacuum of ideas, abstracted from any wider political context. In this vein, it is worth asking what function the disproportionate fixation with diagnosing Islam’s ills fulfils in much of Europe and North America today. Could this too be a political ploy, to disguise and displace deeper anxieties about the direction our societies are taking at a time of immense political and economic upheaval?

Jerusalem is at the heart of the Palestinian struggle: Guardian CoF

The traditional centre of Palestinian social, religious and economic life is increasingly being isolated by Israeli policies
Sarah Colborne, Tuesday 27 March 2012

Jerusalem is a city that embodies the cultural heritage of three religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Yet Palestinians – both Christian and Muslim – are being driven out of Jerusalem. Just one example of this ethnic cleansing is taking place in Silwan, where 1,000 residents are facing imminent eviction as their homes make way for the King David tourist park. In response to the urgency of the situation, an international alliance is mounting a series of peaceful protests worldwide on 30 March to call for an end to the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians living in Jerusalem.

Jerusalem, the traditional centre of Palestinian social, religious and economic life, is increasingly being isolated and restricted by Israeli policies. As the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem points out, ever since Israel illegally occupied East Jerusalem in 1967, in violation of international law, “the government of Israel’s primary goal in Jerusalem has been to create a demographic and geographic situation that will thwart any future attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty over the city”. Some 200,000 settlers now live in illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem.

Concern over these policies is not limited to pro-Palestinian activists, or Israeli human rights groups. An EU Heads of Mission report last year highlighted the continued expansion of illegal Israeli settlements, evictions and demolitions of Palestinian homes, and restrictions on legal and religious freedoms. Palestinians who have lived for generations in East Jerusalem can lose their residency rights if they leave the city because of a Kafkaesque notion that the centre of their life is no longer in Jerusalem, while Israeli citizens retain guaranteed citizenship. Since Israel’s occupation of East Jerusalem, more than 14,000 Palestinians have had their residency rights revoked. The 270,000 Palestinians living in East Jerusalem can find themselves ordered to demolish their homes or businesses, or being forced to watch whilst settlers take over their homes. It is estimated that 20,000 Palestinian homes in Jerusalem have been issued with demolition orders.

Despite Israel’s violations of international law, and the Fourth Geneva Convention – designed to protect those living under occupation – governments have failed to prevent Israel’s violations of international law, which is why it is so vital that international civil society is acting.

The Global March to Jerusalem is bringing together an impressive coalition of Palestinian voices and organisations, with supporters from dozens of countries around the world travelling to Jerusalem, and to the border countries, to participate in the peaceful actions, or organising protests in London and other cities around the world. Two Nobel laureates, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Mairead Maguire, have joined the international endorsers. Other members of the advisory board include Mustafa Barghouti, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, author and activist in the Jewish Renewal movement; and Ronnie Kasrils, the South African national liberation leader and former cabinet minister.

The struggle for freedom, peace and justice for Palestinians is a key issue for those of us committed to equality and human rights. I grew up during the era of apartheid in South Africa, and saw the potential for us all to successfully oppose injustice. This was why I sailed on the Mavi Marmara, in a flotilla with participants from over 40 countries, attempting to break Israel’s siege on Gaza. The struggle for Palestinian rights is at the core of the global movement for social and economic justice, for liberation, for equality, and against racism. The Global March to Jerusalem is continuing in that tradition, organising a nonviolent response to Israel’s violations of international law.

Click here to continue reading “March 30, 2012″ »

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March 27, 2012


Despite some diehard opponents of the BDS movement, such as Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein, the movement is spreading far and fast, and is collecting some very impressive results daily. Today may be atypical example – I have included only few, rather, the more important messages about BDS victories. So, despite the despicable interview Finkelstein gave to Frank Barratt, in which he claimed nothing was achieved, anyone who follows this topic knows he is wrong. His attack on the BDS movement, and his defence of the Israeli position on it is one of the more bizarre interventions he ever was involved in. He was so shocked by the wide condemnation of his stance, that he asked for the video to moved off YouTube… Things cannot be be unsaid, dear Norman!

Read below and judge for yourself.

Veolia loses an0ther contract!: Message by email

Veolia loses another contract! Congratulations to Hastings Against War for their succcessful campaign to exclude Veolia. They have just heard:

“Following completion of the first round of the Competitive Dialogue procedure, the joint waste project manager has confirmed that Veolia are no longer involved in the procurement process for the joint waste collection contract for East Sussex local authorities.”

This is a substantial contract for waste collection, recycling, street and beach cleaning for Eastbourne, Hastings, Rother and Wealden Councils. (details at for the technically minded). It could last up to 20 years – but Veolia will not be profiting from it.

After vigorous local campaigns in UK to exclude the company for complicity in Israeli war crimes Veolia has lost contracts in Sandwell, Edinburgh, Richmond, Portsmouth, Winchester/East Hants, South London, Ealing and West London – and now East Sussex!

Major Norwegian retail chain stops sales of occupation products from Ahava: BDS Movement

Posted on March 27, 2012 by Norwegian People’s Aid and the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (Fagforbundet)
Norwegian retail chain VITA made public on Friday their decision to stop all sales of products originating from settlements in occupied Palestine. VITA will therefore stop selling products from the cosmetics brand Ahava. VITA has been the main retailer of Ahava products in Norway, and this decision will be a serious blow to the sales of Ahava products in Norway.

The principled decision by VITA not to buy products from Israeli settlements in the West Bank is based on a position of not wanting to contribute to violations of international law. This is also the position of Norgesgruppen, a company holding 49% of the shares in VITA. BAMA, another Norgesgruppen company has implemented the same policy regarding Israeli fruit and vegetables for several years already.

The VITA decision comes after a period of active lobbying from Norwegian People’s Aid and the Norwegian Union of Municipal and General Employees (Fagforbundet), providing VITA and VITA’s owners with information about Ahava and their production in the Mitzpe Shalem settlement. Activists in Norway have also focused on Ahava and will now launch a new campaign to have other stores follow VITA’s example.

Israel sponsors Polish soap opera in ‘image improvement’ drive – Polish and Israeli activists urge boycott: BDS Movement

Posted on March 8, 2012 by Kampania Palestyna
Polish and Israeli activists have called on the makers of a Polish medical drama ‘For Better and For Worse’ to abandon plans to film two episodes in Israel under the sponsorship of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Israeli Embassy in Warsaw and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs are co-operating to provide assistance to the project, in what officials say is an effort to change the attitude of Polish society towards Israel and to improve the image of Israel in the world. [1]

The Polish Campaign of Solidarity with Palestine (Kampania Palestyna) supports the Palestinian call by over 170 civil society organisations and trade unions initiated in 2005 for a comprehensive economic, sports, cultural and academic boycott of Israel until:

1.  Israel withdraws from all occupied territory (Gaza, West Bank, East Jerusalem, Golan Heights and dismantles the illegal apartheid wall);
2.    Respects the right of return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants expelled from their homes in 1948; and
3.    Affirms equal rights for Palestinians living in Israel-Palestine.

‘For Better and for Worse’, a popular Polish soap opera about doctors is made by Artrama and broadcast by state television channel ‘Telewizja Polska SA (TVP). All appeals and protests registered in public domains including the programme’s home page and facebook have been removed.

The Polish campaign said: “State support for cultural projects, including those from the mainstream, is altogether laudable, but in Israel’s cas culture is treated as a tool to cover up violence, distraction of human rights and civil rights, absolute occupation and apartheid policies.

We consider it unethical to take part in events organized or co-financed by the State of Israel, the occupier of Palestine, given the very fact of occupation, particularly its violent nature, and the deliberate violation of international law. We call for a boycott initiative, and to waive the implementation of the episodes of “For better or for worse” in Israel”. [2]

Ten prominent Israeli academics and human rights activists [3] wrote to the makers of ‘For better or for worse’ requesting they visit occupied Palestine and meet with human rights activists before undertaking any decision to film. They said:

“We would like to stress that participation in such a project is equivalent to taking a political stand on a very important issue: the human rights crisis in the Occupied Territories, under Israeli military control. The crisis has significant medical aspects as well. [4]

We believe that the decision whether to proceed with the project should be based on a comprehensive understanding of the situation in our region. In view of this, before you commit to filming, we would like to invite you to meet Israeli peace and human rights activists during your visit here.In particular, we strongly recommend an informative guided tour with representatives of ICAHD, the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. We will gladly respond to any comments or questions that you may have. [5]

They have received no response.

Kampania Palestyna urges people to register complaints over the Israeli state sponsored instrumentalisation of ‘For Better or for Worse’ to whitewash Israel’s image as a ‘democracy’ and normalise apartheid and occupation in Palestine.

Lessons for solidarity Palestine can teach us: City Press

Ahmed Kathrada
As a South African who has lived and suffered under apartheid and spent nearly thirty years of my adult life in its jails for resisting it, I can and do humbly claim to know something about the meaning of apartheid.

You do not get to journey as far and as long as I have with the African National Congress (ANC) and leaders such as Govan Mbeki, Walter Sisulu and Nelson Mandela and not recognise apartheid when you see and experience it.

Recently I attended the Russell Tribunal on Palestine and heard moving testimony from Palestinians, Israelis and South Africans. The tribunal concluded that Israel meets the legal definition of an apartheid state.

I am pained to admit that based on what I have suffered through and more importantly, what I have learnt, l am deeply convinced that that the Palestinians are experiencing life akin to – and in many respects far worse – than we had under apartheid in South Africa.

This has also been cogently argued by Professor John Dugard, one of South Africa’s most eminent jurists.

Israel’s separate roads, defacto Mixed Marriages Act, trials by military courts, the unfair allocation of resources (particularly water), racist citizenship laws, assigning and denying rights to people on the basis of ethnicity, the destruction of the homes of indigenous people who have lived and worked the land for centuries to make way for newcomers who share a common gene pool with the rulers, the uprooting of olive trees, detention without trial, pass laws, the tiniest pieces of land given the to largest part of the population … I know of no other word for this but apartheid.

I remember how apologists for apartheid South Africa internationally tried to argue that the South African “situation” was more complex than the ANC wanted to suggest.

Indeed it may have been, but the argument of complexity was also used as a weapon in the hands of the powerful to disarm the weak and those who act in solidarity with them.

I fear the same may now be happening. Nelson Mandela warned us: “The temptation in our situation is to speak in muffled tones about an issue such as the right of the people of Palestine to a state of their own.

“We can easily be enticed to read reconciliation and fairness as meaning parity between justice and injustice. Having achieved our own freedom, we can fall into the trap of washing our hands of difficulties that others face. Yet we would be less than human if we did so.” (December 4 1997)

Some would have us believe that the South African story is one of dialogue and reconciliation only. It was indeed about these. However, it is also about a struggle against occupation and one for justice.

Our liberation struggle has many newfound “admirers” – some who often colluded with the apartheid regime.

They not only claim to have been part of the struggle but now want to give us lessons as to what it was about and how it should be applied to the Palestinian struggle for justice.

The ANC needs to address how it can concretely support the Palestinian struggle for justice and self-determination. I believe that we must pay serious consideration to the call made by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and many others in the world today.

When the University of Johannesburg (UJ) commissioned a team to investigate whether UJ should terminate its institutional relationship with Israel’s Ben-Gurion University and impose an academic boycott (which they did), Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote:

“Together with the peace-loving peoples of this Earth, I condemn any form of violence – but surely we must recognise that people caged in, starved and stripped of their essential material and political rights must resist their Pharaoh? Surely resistance also makes us human? Palestinians have chosen, like we did, the non-violent tools of boycott, divestment and sanctions.”

Our call tonight is not a call to violence or armed struggle – our call is one to non-violence and reconciliation. Historically the ANC has always clamoured for a peaceful negotiated settlement.

We are, however, also saying that if you continue along the road of apartheid and we cannot stop you, at the very least you will do so without our consent, our investments, economic, cultural and political agreement.

When it comes to the question of justice for the Palestinians, our solidarity with them and co-existence for all the people in that area, we can do no better than repeat the words of wisdom, spoken with such clarity by our own leader, Nelson Mandela:

“When, in 1977, the United Nations passed the resolution inaugurating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, it was asserting the recognition that injustice and gross human rights violations were being perpetrated in Palestine.

“In the same period, the UN took a strong stand against apartheid and over the years, an international consensus was built which helped bring an end to this iniquitous system.” (11 August 1988)

» This is an edited version of a speech delivered by Ahmed Kathrada on the occasion of the 8th International Israeli Apartheid Week held recently at the University of Johannesburg

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March 25, 2012

EDITOR: Voicing the truth shall be punished!

The Palestinians have complained to the UN about Israel illegal settlements, in which more than 600,000 Jews live. These are illegal under international law, and against UN resolutions. Even the US presidents were always clear about the illegalities involved. So every knows, and every speaks about it, but this is not allowed to the Palestinians themselves, as the fascist government of Israel is about to prove. So, to the crimes already committed, will be added the crime of depriving the PA of its funding. And, do not forget, please: this will be done with US President, Barack Obama’s support. Should we suggest another Nobel Prize for him? It is a pity they do not award an annual prize for hypocrisy – he would get is every year.

Israel mulls ways to penalize PA in wake of UN human rights probe: Haaretz

Top ministers Lieberman, Ya’alon and Steinitz reportedly support freezing the transfer of tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority.
By Barak Ravid
Israel is considering sanctions against the Palestinian Authority after the United Nations’ Human Rights Council decided to establish an international investigative committee on the West Bank settlements.

Today, a forum of eight senior Israeli cabinet ministers is scheduled to meet in Jerusalem to discuss sanctions against the PA and representatives of the UN Human Rights Council in Israel. It is unclear whether any decisions will be made during today’s meeting.

Three members of the octet reportedly support freezing the transfer of tax revenues to the PA. According to one source, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya’alon and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz would back such a move.

Lieberman said Friday that the move by the UN body proves that the Palestinians do not want to renew negotiations with Israel. “We are dealing with Al-Qaida terror on the one hand and diplomatic terror by Abu Mazen on the other,” Lieberman said, referring to PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

Senior officials in the Prime Minister’s Bureau and the Foreign Ministry said Israel would not cooperate with the UN committee. The Prime Minister’s Bureau decided Friday that the committee’s members – who are yet to be determined – would not be allowed into Israel.

Lieberman also said Friday that he plans to call a meeting of senior Foreign Ministry staffers to discuss next steps. One proposal is to cut off ties with some of the council’s reporters who visit Israel once every few months.

Lieberman said he was considering asking the United States and other members of the council to resign. Yet this appears an impossibility, as the Obama administration, for one, views membership in the council as one of the basic building blocks of its international policy.

EDITOR: Pogroms are fine in Jerusalem!

Now, a week after the event, and with not a single person questioned or arrested, the Jerusalem police is pretending to inquire into this mass pogrom, taking place in the most public arena in Jerusalem, the Malcha Mall, in broad daylight, and watched by hundreds of shoppers. Of course, there was no reason to inquire, said the police, as no one has complained…

Jerusalem police launch probe of soccer fans caught attacking Arab workers at mall: Haaretz

Video footage shows hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem fans rioting against Arab workers in Malha Mall; investigation delayed because no complaints were filed, say police.
By Oz Rosenberg

Beitar Jerusalem fans at Teddy Stadium. Photo by: Roni Schitzer/Jini

The Jerusalem Police announced Sunday that it had opened an official investigation over the riots that erupted last week when 300 Beitar Jerusalem fans attacked Arabs at the capital’s Malha shopping mall.

Hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem supporters who went to the mall after a match last week were caught on video assaulting Arab cleaning personnel, in what was said to be one of Jerusalem’s biggest-ever ethnic clashes. “It was a mass lynching attempt,” said Mohammed Yusuf, a team leader for Or-Orly cleaning services.

Despite CCTV footage of the events, no one was arrested because no complaint was filed, according to Jerusalem Police.

Witnesses said that after a soccer game in the nearby Teddy Stadium, hundreds of mostly teenage supporters flooded into the shopping center, hurling racial abuse at Arab workers and customers and chanting anti-Arab slogans, and filled the food hall on the second floor.

“I’ve never seen so many people,” said A, a shopkeeper. “They stood on chairs and tables and what have you. They made a terrible noise, screamed ‘death to the Arabs,’ waved their scarves and sang songs at the top of their voices.”

Shortly afterward, several supporters started harassing three Arab women, who sat in the food hall with their children. They verbally abused and spat on them.

Some Arab men, who work as cleaners at the shopping center and observed the brawl, came to their rescue. “How can you stand aside and do nothing?” said Akram, a resident of the Old City’s Muslim Quarter who was one of the cleaners who got involved. CCTV footage shows that they started chasing the rioting youths, wielding broomsticks.

It seemed the workers managed to chase the abusers away, but a few minutes later supporters returned and assaulted them. “They caught some of them and beat the hell out of them,” said Yair, owner of a bakery located in the food hall. “They hurled people into shops, and smashed them against shop windows. I don’t understand how none shattered into pieces. One cleaner was attacked by some 20 people, poor guy, and then they had a go at his brother who works in a nearby pizza shop and came to his rescue.”

The attackers also asked Jewish shop owners for knives and sticks to serve as weapons but none consented, witnesses said. Avi Biton, Malha’s security director, sent a force of security guards in an attempt to restore order, but they were outnumbered. He called the police who arrived in large numbers about 40 minutes after the brawl started. At about 10.30 P.M., they evacuated the mall and the management shut its doors.

“I’ve been here for many years and I’ve never seen such a thing,” said Gideon Avrahami, Malha’s executive director. “It was a disgraceful, shocking, racist incident; simply terrible.”

Biton said that his department would step up security measures when Beitar matches take place. “This event was unusual for Beitar fans,” he said. “We’ve learned our lesson and from now on we’ll make more serious preparations ahead of Beitar games.”

Beitar fans are known for their staunchly anti-Arab positions and have been previously involved in attacks on Arabs.

On Tuesday, a day after the incident, Avrahami gathered the mall workers and apologized to them. “He promised it would never happen again,” said Akram.

Beitar Jerusalem’s management said in a statement that the club “firmly condemns violence and leaves it to the treatment of the authorities.”

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March 23, 2013

EDITOR: Good news for Zion – Israel can continue to bomb Gaza with impunity – the American taxpayer will foot the bill…

So instead of pressurizing their flagging president to do something about Israeli aggression, the US Congress, 96% of which is paid funds by AIPAC, is again making sure the atrocities continue unabated. The US should know that in the final reckoning, it bears as much responsibility for events in Palestine, and for the war crimes committed, at least as much as Israel does. Without its continuous and unwavering support for Israel’s crimes, none of this could have happened.

U.S. Congress supports additional funding for Israel’s Iron Dome systems: Haaretz

The Iron Dome Support Act (IDSA), which authorizes the President to provide Israel assistance to procure additional Iron Dome defense systems, wins bipartisan support.
By Natasha Mozgovaya
The Iron Dome missile defense system has proven its effectiveness, as it successfully intercepted nearly 60 rockets fired from within the Gaza Strip last week. U.S. Congressmen were also impressed by the performance, and Rep. Howard L. Berman, (D-Valley Village) – the top Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee – introduced the Iron Dome Support Act (IDSA) authorizing the President to provide assistance if requested by the Israeli government to procure additional Iron Dome anti-missile defense systems.

Iron Dome defense system protects Ashkelon. Photo by: Reuters

During the 2011 budget year, Congress approved 205 million dollars in funding for Iron Dome. Congressman Berman said: “When Palestinian terrorists launched their latest round of missile attacks on innocent Israelis, the Iron Dome anti-missile system saved innocent lives and prevented an escalation of hostilities and a full-blown crisis.” He added that “Israel must have the ability to defend itself from rocket and missile attacks, and the United States will continue to stand by our strong ally if called upon in times of need.”

The Iron Dome Support Act is still in initial stages of the legislation process. However, it has already won support from both parties. Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen,(R-FL) was one of the initial supporters of the bill, along with four other congressmen from both parties.

Israel is currently planning to set up a fourth Iron Dome system. Israel’s Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren wrote in an opinion piece on the Politico website that “at least ten Iron Dome systems will be necessary in order to defend the whole country – for Israel, and for America as well, an investment in Iron Dome is an investment in diplomacy that helps create a conditions for peace.”

Meanwhile, the House Foreign Affairs Committee has questioned continued funding for the Palestinian Authority, contrary to the position of the Obama administration. The administration believes that it is in Palestinian, Israeli, and American interests to continue funding the Palestinian Authority in order to stabilize the West Bank, and to improve the situation in Gaza.

Vittorio Arrigoni memorial, by Carlos Latuff

EDITOR: Shame on the Egyptian government!

Over a year after the Egyptian revolution of Jan 2011, the Egyptian regime still refuses to open trade with Gaza, while selling its gas to Israel at knockdown prices! Without Egypt’s collusion, the Israeli stranglehold on Gaza would be over!

Egypt’s rulers resist Muslim Brotherhood’s push to open Gaza border: Haaretz

Egyptian Islamists blame remnants of Mubarak regime in the government for lingering hostility to Hamas.
By Reuters
The Muslim Brotherhood aims to open the Egyptian border with Gaza to commerce, a shift that would transform life for Palestinians there but which is hitting resistance from Egyptian authorities reluctant to change a longstanding policy.

Islamist MPs during a session of the Egyptian parliament in January 2012. Photo by: Reuters

The biggest party in Egypt’s new parliament, the Islamists are not yet in government but have been seeking ways to ease the impact of restrictions imposed by Israel and Egypt on what passes in and out of the territory run by Hamas, an ideological offshoot of the Brotherhood.

Aiming to ease chronic power shortages in Gaza, the Brotherhood recently lobbied the Egyptian government to conclude a deal to supply fuel for the territory’s sole power station.

However, the blackouts still plaguing Gaza several weeks after the deal was declared show that changing policy is easier said than done in Cairo, where government is still largely run by remnants of Hosni Mubarak’s administration.

“It’s the continuation of the Mubarak method in dealing with the Palestinian issue,” said Gamal Hishmat, the deputy chair of the Egyptian parliamentary committee on foreign affairs and a Muslim Brotherhood MP.

The fuel has yet to arrive because of a dispute over how it should be delivered, according to Hamas and Brotherhood MPs familiar with the details. Hamas wants it to come across Gaza border with Egypt, a precedent that could lead to broader trade through the only Palestinian frontier not controlled by Israel.

Egypt had initially backed this but then said it should go via Israel, the Hamas and Brotherhood sources said. Officials at the Egyptian oil ministry could not be reached for comment.

Protests organized by Hamas at the border this week over the power crisis have signaled growing impatience with restrictions Palestinians feel should have ended with Mubarak’s rule.

Egypt’s ruling military led by Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi eased restrictions on the passage of travelers last year, but the change fell short of what Palestinians were seeking.

“The Field Marshal of Egypt and the Egyptian government and the whole world stand silent as Gaza remains under blockade,” Mohammed Ashour, a local official in Gaza, told a rally, his voice booming from loud speakers across the frontier.

Mubarak’s last years in power were marked by suspicion bordering on outright hostility towards Hamas, an ideological cousin of the Brotherhood group that was banned under his rule.

“I want the crossing to open completely, so that whoever wants to travel from Gaza can come to Egypt,” said Mahmoud Ghozlan, spokesman for the Brotherhood. “We support opening the crossing for import and export.”

Hamas wants the same. “We are not happy with the tunnels,” said Mahmoud al-Zahar, a Hamas leader from Gaza. For the Brotherhood, the first justification is moral. The Gaza blockade is one of the most emotive issues in the Arab world. There would also be an economic benefit for northern Sinai, one of the poorest parts of Egypt.

For Israel, the idea does not appear a cause for concern. “The Israeli foreign minister has suggested that we do everything we can to help Gaza stop depending on Israel for anything and instead deal directly with Egypt,” an Israeli diplomat said. He added that checks would be needed on the Egyptian side to prevent arms reaching Gaza but said the fuel deal did not raise any alarm.

The Egyptian position has long been shaped by concern Israel would relinquish all responsibility for Gaza were the border with Sinai opened. With the rise of Hamas in Gaza, Cairo was also guided by concern Palestinian militancy could spill over.

A diplomat familiar with Gaza policy said Cairo’s worry was now that yielding to Hamas demands would weaken Egypt’s leverage over the group and undermine efforts to nudge it towards reconciliation with the Palestinian Authority.

Some Palestinians share the fear that opening the border with Egypt would allow Israel to wash its hands of Gaza while also entrenching the divide with the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority.

Zahar did not expect any serious change in policy until Egypt elects a new president, completing the transition from army rule at the end of June. “In this interim period I do not believe fundamental changes will happen,” he said.

Meanwhile, in a reversal of its previously stated intentions, the Muslim Brotherhood may field its own candidate in Egypt’s upcoming presidential elections.

“The Brotherhood might choose to back one of its own as a presidential candidate for Egypt given the lack of choices,” said Medhat Hadad, a member of the group’s Shura Council which decides on policy. “Of those who applied already, the Brotherhood has not found a presidential candidate it is willing to support,” he said.

The Brotherhood had previously decided not to field a candidate in the elections, in an attempt to avoid alienating electoral members wary of Islamists sweeping the new political scene.


Egypt helps ease Gaza oil crisis: BBC

The fuel shortages force Gazans to form lengthy queues for the small amount of fuel available

Gaza’s only power station closes
Egypt has agreed to start supplying fuel to the Gaza Strip, to help ease a lengthy fuel crisis.

Cairo agreed to send diesel to be used at a power station, which shut down in mid-February.

This caused big reductions in Gaza’s ambulance service, medical operations and taxi services, and power cuts of up to eighteen hours a day.

Officials in Gaza said enough fuel to run the power station for a day had arrived in nine trucks.

Israel is allowing the fuel supplies to go through the Karam Abu Salim border crossing.

The crisis stems from a dispute between Egypt and the Hamas government in Gaza over whether Gaza can trade with Egypt openly, or only via Israel.

At the same time Egypt cracked down on fuel being smuggled through tunnels, leading to petrol pumps running dry.

EDITOR: A pogrom in Jerusalem

That is what it was called when Jews were beaten up by Anti-Semites, isn’t it? So let us call it that, when Jews are doing the beating up. Just shows that being beaten up is not a proper schooling for liberal behaviour. In Israel, they can beat up Arab citizen with security camera covering the event, with no one being arrested. That is what the meaning of apartheid is; if this happened the other way, hundreds would by now be in jail, being beaten up there… And Israel speaks about Anti-Semitism… they are the real Anti-Semites.

This disgusting episode happened on Monday, five days ago, and only now was it reported! Only god knows what goes unreported.

Hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem fans beat up Arab workers in mall; no arrests: Haaertz

Despite CCTV footage, no one arrested after the incident at Malha shopping center on Monday; Jerusalem police say arrests not made because no complaints filed.

An image grab of the incident from security cameras at the mall.

Hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem supporters assaulted Arab cleaning personnel at the capital’s Malha shopping center on Monday, in what was said to be one of Jerusalem’s biggest-ever ethnic clashes. “It was a mass lynching attempt,” said Mohammed Yusuf, a team leader for Or-Orly cleaning services.

Despite CCTV footage of the events, no one was arrested. Jerusalem police said that is because no complaint was filed. Witnesses said that after a soccer game in the nearby Teddy Stadium, hundreds of mostly teenage supporters flooded into the shopping center, hurling racial abuse at Arab workers and customers and chanting anti-Arab slogans, and filled the food hall on the second floor.

“I’ve never seen so many people,” said A, a shopkeeper. “They stood on chairs and tables and what have you. They made a terrible noise, screamed ‘death to the Arabs,’ waved their scarves and sang songs at the top of their voices.”

Shortly afterward, several supporters started harassing three Arab women, who sat in the food hall with their children. They verbally abused and spat on them.

Some Arab men, who work as cleaners at the shopping center and observed the brawl, came to their rescue. “How can you stand aside and do nothing?” said Akram, a resident of the Old City’s Muslim Quarter who was one of the cleaners who got involved. CCTV footage shows that they started chasing the rioting youths, wielding broomsticks.

It seemed the workers managed to chase the abusers away, but a few minutes later supporters returned and assaulted them. “They caught some of them and beat the hell out of them,” said Yair, owner of a bakery located in the food hall. “They hurled people into shops, and smashed them against shop windows. I don’t understand how none shattered into pieces. One cleaner was attacked by some 20 people, poor guy, and then they had a go at his brother who works in a nearby pizza shop and came to his rescue.”

The attackers also asked Jewish shop owners for knives and sticks to serve as weapons but none consented, witnesses said. Avi Biton, Malha’s security director, sent a force of security guards in an attempt to restore order, but they were outnumbered. He called the police who arrived in large numbers about 40 minutes after the brawl started. At about 10.30 P.M., they evacuated the mall and the management shut its doors.

“I’ve been here for many years and I’ve never seen such a thing,” said Gideon Avrahami, Malha’s executive director. “It was a disgraceful, shocking, racist incident; simply terrible.”

Biton said that his department would step up security measures when Beitar matches take place. “This event was unusual for Beitar fans,” he said. “We’ve learned our lesson and from now on we’ll make more serious preparations ahead of Beitar games.”

Beitar fans are known for their staunchly anti-Arab positions and have been previously involved in attacks on Arabs.

On Tuesday, a day after the incident, Avrahami gathered the mall workers and apologized to them. “He promised it would never happen again,” said Akram.

Beitar Jerusalem’s management said in a statement that the club “firmly condemns violence and leaves it to the treatment of the authorities.”

Israeli football fans in racist attack against shoppers in Jerusalem: Guardian

Police criticised over failure to arrest any Beitar Jerusalem fans after racist mob storms mall

The failure of Jerusalem police to arrest any one of several hundred football fans who reportedly launched racially motivated attacks in the city’s Malcha shopping mall on Monday has prompted outrage in Israel.

Some Beitar Jerusalem fans, the country’s notoriously violent supporters stand accused of stabbing one man and assaulting several others in a mass attack on the shopping centre’s Palestinian staff and customers.

The police have not yet launched an investigation into the incident because an official complaint has not been lodged. Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper described the incident as “Jerusalem’s biggest ever ethnic clashes”.

“How can we arrest someone when there have been no complaints made? There have been no reports of injuries or that anyone was spoken to in [a racist] way,” said Micky Rosenfeld, an Israel police spokesman. Even so, Rosenfeld added, police will begin examining CCTV footage next week.

“Normally, members of the public would have come forward within hours to make an official complaint. Until now, none has been made.”

Shortly before 10pm on Monday, after a match at Teddy Stadium between Beitar football club and Maccabi Tel Aviv, supporters of the Jerusalem club flooded into the food hall at the neighbouring mall.

Witnesses quoted in Haaretz say that hundreds of teenage supporters surged into the second floor food hall, hurling abuse at Palestinian cleaners and chanting anti-Arab slogans. Several Palestinian women eating there with their children were harassed by youths who spat in their food, it is claimed. Arab staff managed to chase the assailants away but were then beaten back as the mob returned. One man was surrounded and attacked by around 20 youths.

A senior Malcha mall employee who witnessed the event confirmed the shopping centre’s considerable private security force was overwhelmed by more than 300 troublemakers who were “verbally and physically attacking Arabs”. Within 40 minutes, police had arrived in large numbers, the mall was evacuated and the situation brought under control.

A waitress at Malcha’s Apropos restaurant told the Guardian: “Everyone was shouting, screaming and running about the place. It was crazy. After around half an hour the security evacuated us. I heard that someone was stabbed.”

She said she had never seen such violent scenes at the shopping centre before, despite its proximity to the football stadium.

“It was scary at first but we have not got excited about this because we know these fans; they are known to be very aggressive”.

An employee at Steimatzky bookstore on the first floor was equally unsurprised by reports of thuggish violence. “Beitar is considered to be the most violent fan group of all the football teams. They openly don’t approve of Arabs playing for their team. The core group of fans don’t deny they are racist,” he said.

Beitar Jerusalem issued a statement condemning the attack but saying the club “leaves it to the treatment of the authorities”.

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March 20, 2012

EDITOR: Some good news at last!

It seems that the only positive result of the summer’s J14 Tent Protest is outlined below.

Study: Israel’s social protests caused drop in racist incidents against Arabs: Haartez

Coalition against Racism in Israel says last summer’s social unrest caused Israel’s various ethnic groups to unite against what they said was increased institutional discrimination.
By Jack Khoury
Incidents of racism and intolerance between across Israeli ethnic groups are on the decline, a new report published on Monday concluded.

Israelis protest racism against Ethiopian immigrants, January 18, 2012. Photo by: Emil Salman

According to data compiled by the Coalition against Racism in Israel, is composed of Jewish and Arab human rights groups, the number of reported incidences of racism committed by Jewish Israelis against Arab Israelis fell from 91 in 2009 and 68 in 2010 to only 20 in 2011

Nidal Othman, who heads the coalition, said the drop was directly related to the social protest movement that swept the country last summer, which, he said, created an atmosphere of solidarity between minority groups, including Arabs, Ethiopian Jews and Jews of Middle Eastern and North African descent.

On the other hand, the report found an increase in acts of racism by state institutions, businesses, and private and public organizations against the same groups. According to the report, there were 155 such incidents last year, including 35 Knesset bills which aimed to restrict the freedom of Arab citizens of Israel, foreign workers or refugees and some 22 cases of home demolitions, 15 of them in the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev.

The report also noted an escalation in the intensity of attacks against religious groups, largely due to the escalation from mostly verbal slurs to vandalism and arson against houses of worship.

“The government led by Netanyahu is dragging most of the public toward a socially and politically explosive situation, which could lead to minority groups, who are the object of discrimination, taking their frustration to the streets,” said Nidal.

“The refusal of landlords to rent apartments to Arabs, the demolition of Arab homes by the government, the segregation of Ethiopian students, the moves to expel [African] refugees, the eviction of homeless people, mostly Jews of Middle Eastern and North African descent, from tent camps – could all together lead to a real collective explosion of rage,” he added.

The coalition, in partnership with other groups and MKs, is planning to launch a campaign against racism in Israel on Tuesday, under the banner “Racism against all of us, all of us against racism.” The campaign opened with a conference on Tuesday and will include demonstrations in front of the Prime Minister’s Residence.

The coalition noted that its campaign would represent the first time that all the various groups that suffer from racism in Israel would unite against government discrimination, instead of struggling separately for narrow sectarian grievances.


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March 19, 2012


47 years to the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and the Golan Heights!

1861 Days to the Israeli Blockade of Gaza:

End Israeli Apartheid Now!

Support Palestinian universities – it is what people under the Israeli jackboot ask you to do

Any army fighting against children, has already lost the war!

Israeli War Criminals and Pirates – to the International Criminal Court, NOW!

Make Zionism History!

Demand the destruction of Israeli WMDs NOW!




EDITOR: What would Israel have done without the Holocaust?

Well, to begin with, it would not even be there… The Holocaust is the most debased issue in the Zionist discourse. Before and during the Holocaust, Zionism has done its level best to stop any solution to the plight of Europe’s Jews, which did not involve sending them to Palestine. Read Edwin Black’s excellent book on the Transfer Agreement, to learn about the level and types of lies and fabrications used by Zionist organisations in order to terminate the anti-Nazi boycott against Hitler, a boycott which Black, a devout Zionist, is persuaded could have brought Hitler to his knees. Another excellent book on the indifference and hostility of Zionism to the plight of the Jews of Europe is by S B Bet Zvi, on the Evian conference (unfortunately only in Hebrew!). Of course, after the Holocaust, Zionism and then Israel have used it very well to get every possible benefit out of it, at the same time that it deprived the survivors in Israel of most of the funds it collected on their behalf, allowing most of them to perish quietly and in penury.  There is massive research published about Zionist manipulation of the Holocaust, the latest example of which is Netanyahu comparing the Iran nuclear programme to Auscwitz. Now the Jewish state, with 400 nuclear devices, is comparing itself to the Jews of Auscwitz… As the son of two survivors of Auscwitz, I can only puke at this cynical manipulation of the dead victims of Nazism.
Of course, Netanyahu is not alone in using this bizarre and repulsive tactic, which works only on two groups – Israelis, who cannot give up the ‘sacred victim’ role and identity, and Americans, who stand to attention when the Holocaust is mentioned by any Israeli leader, as most of them know nothing whatsoever about it. It is deeply embarrassing, but not any different from the same tactic used in the past to silence and humiliate criticis of Israel.

This is the stuff which feeds anti-Semitism. In the article below, some of those sick outbursts are examined.

Israel is fighting a losing battle over victimhood: Haaretz

For years, victimhood speeches by Israeli leaders have succeeded in bringing American Jews to their feet, applauding, and getting them to open their wallets.
By Akiva Eldar
With regard to A.B. Yehoshua’s extraordinary remark – that he had “never heard the Jews analyze the Holocaust as a Jewish failure, which was not anticipated” – I can only wonder where the renowned author was when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu waved the “Auschwitz letters”? Yehoshua didn’t hear that Netanyahu said that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the new version of Adolf Hitler? He didn’t know that Netanyahu had promised that he would not, under any circumstances, allow Iran to carry out a second Holocaust? Doesn’t Yehoshua understand that Shoah equals victimhood – not guilt, not failure, and without any doubt whatsoever – and that the ability to play the victim is a strategic asset with an existential value?

In her new book, “Who is Afraid of Historical Redress: The Israeli Victim-Perpetrator Dichotomy,” Dr. Ruth Amir wrotes that the perception of Israeli-Jewish victimhood, which was always present in the Jewish narrative and Jewish thought, became even stronger after the Holocaust and serves to give Israel political legitimacy.

Amir, who heads the Department of Multidisciplinary Studies at the Jezreel Academic College (full disclosure: This writer is a member of the college’s board of governors ), notes that the fact that Israel sees itself as a victim justifies its aggression and injustice. With the help of guilt-neutralizing mechanisms, Israelis disengage the circumstantial link between an action and its consequences, and absolve themselves of responsibility. That is why they aren’t interested in trying to correct injustices and reconcile with their neighbor.

The death of John Demjanjuk recalls the declaration that Shulamit Aloni attributes to the late Prime Minister Golda Meir after the Eichmann trial: “Now, when everyone knows what they did to us, we can do anything we want, and no one has the right to criticize us and tell us what to do.” Meir even apparently commented that she would never forgive our enemies for “forcing” us to kill them – another victim-like comment.

Prime Minister Menachem Begin said before the bombing of Beirut during the first Lebanon war that “No country that fought in World War II has any right to preach morality to us, since they did nothing to stop the killing and extermination of the Jews.”

Victimhood purifies the victim of any guilt and enables him to request empathy – even if he is the stronger, victorious, occupying party. This duality is the reason that for years, victimhood speeches by Israeli leaders have succeeded in bringing American Jews to their feet, applauding, and getting them to open their wallets.

The problem is that since World War II the language of human rights has been gradually taking the place of the Holocaust in diplomatic and moral discourse. Even in Germany it’s getting harder and harder to play the role of occupier-victim. Sigmar Gabriel, the chairman of that country’s Social-Democratic Party, who has his eyes on the chancellor’s seat, visited Israel and the territories last week and didn’t hesitate to write on his Facebook page that in Hebron there is an apartheid regime.

If you remove the Holocaust and victimhood from the debate, Netanyahu’s claim that “Israel has the right to defend itself,” turns into a double-edged sword. How then, are we meant to respond to the Palestinian leader who will claim: “It’s the right of a people without a state to defend itself?”

True, there is a difference. Israel is not threatening to destroy the Palestinians. It is “only” taking their lands and has “only” been holding them under a regime of occupation for 45 years, without basic civil rights. From another perspective, if it’s justified to impose sanctions on Iran because it desires nuclear deterrence, why is it forbidden to impose sanctions on Israel so as to stop settlement in the territories?

Remove the Holocaust and victimhood from Israel and then ask yourself: If it’s permissible for this country to bomb Iran to free itself from a nuclear threat, then why are the Palestinians forbidden to launch rockets against Israel to free themselves of the occupation? Does Jewish construction in the occupied territories accord with the law and international consensus any more than the Palestinian request to be accepted as a UN member? For how long will the Holocaust save the world’s last colonialist government from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, when it is trying to withhold nuclear power from Iran?

Without entering into self-righteous symmetry, it must be said that many of the Palestinians have yet to wean themselves from their addiction to the Nakba (the so-called catastrophe of the creation of the Jewish state ) and their own victimhood. The key to their old house in Sheikh Munis (now Ramat Aviv ) that they wear around their necks will not open the door for them to a Palestinian state.

In this endless battle, the battle over victimhood, everybody loses.

Netanyahu’s contempt for the Holocaust: Haaretz

Contrary to previous Israeli leaders, Netanyahu’s political use of the Holocaust is a tactic; it is demagoguery and it is a bluff.
By Avner Cohen
In October 2006, Haaretz’s weekend magazine asked a number of cultural figures to describe how they would feel if Tel Aviv were to be wiped off the map. This was in response to one of the Israeli anxiety attacks over the non-existent Iranian atom bomb and the declarations made by the Iranian president in that vein. I was surprised that serious people were prepared at all to relate to such a weird and nihilistic question but I was even more surprised that the Haaretz editorial staff had initiated the project.

I could not contain my feelings and I called the publisher of the newspaper to ask how he had permitted “pornographic” projects of that kind. Even before I managed to express my anger, Amos Schocken cut me short: “You are correct,” he declared. “It was a serious editorial mistake. We won’t repeat it.”

That was indeed a miscalculation because a central newspaper must not, from the moral and normative points of view, grant legitimacy to this kind of illusory apocalyptic discourse. And if this is forbidden for a newspaper, how much more so is it forbidden for national leaders. A sane society will not permit its leaders to talk about “the generations that will not come after us.” The leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union, who lived through threats of mutual annihilation for most of the years of the Cold War, did not allow fears of that kind to spill over into the public political discourse. Even during the days of the missile crisis in Cuba, perhaps the most dangerous point of time in the history of the Cold War, their respective leaders, John Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev refrained from apocalyptical descriptions. (Later the American secretary of defense at the time, Robert McNamara, would relate that at the height of the crisis he did indeed feel one day that the end of the world was likely to come. )

In Israel, the vow “Never again” has come to mean the creation of a national insurance policy against the possibility of another Holocaust. In the name of this vow, the Jewish state set up its nuclear project which it sees as combining something lofty with strength and a national taboo. In the name of this vow, the entire Western world kept quiet – sometimes it looked away and other times, particularly at the start of the road, it helped Israel to build its apocalyptic power. In a personal letter written in 1966 by the father of Israel’s nuclear program, Prof. Ernst David Bergmann, to Meir Ya’ari, the leader of the Mapam party, he explicitly stated that Israel had embarked on a nuclear path “so that we would never again be led like sheep to the slaughter”. According to the American journalist Seymour Hersh, in his book, “The Samson Option”, the vow “Never again” was physically engraved, in Hebrew letters, on the first product at Dimona. The fulfillment of the vow signifies that the Jewish state will never again remain helpless. Dimona is Israel’s response to the anxieties about the Holocaust, and to a large extent, the response of David Ben-Gurion to his own fears.

Keeping the vow, however, also entails the demand to recognize the uniqueness of the Holocaust and not to take its name in vain – that is to say to see it as a unique event that can never be repeated. If the State of Israel is indeed the most powerful entity in the region, something that Defense Minister Ehud Barak repeatedly declares, it has no need for manipulations of the fears about another Holocaust. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has twice desecrated the sanctity of this vow. The first time was my means of the deceptive and distorted analogy he made between [the site of the Iranian centrifuges at] Natanz and Auschwitz, during his speech before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee – mere demagoguery which bears no real historic insight.

The second time was in the numerous interviews Netanyahu gave to the Israeli media after he returned home from his visit to the United States, in which he stated that if we put off the decision over Iran it could be too late, because after yet another Holocaust no one will remain to even express remorse for the mistake.

Netanyahu is not the first Israeli prime minister to use the Holocaust for political reasons and thus to show contempt for it. Menachem Begin did it aplenty before him, and even Ben-Gurion, who abhorred public remarks about the Holocaust, did not refrain from mentioning the possibility of another Holocaust in private letters that he sent to President Kennedy and other world leaders. But the difference between Ben-Gurion and Begin, and Netanyahu, is tremendous.

First, the two of them, as Jewish leaders during the period of the Holocaust, underwent in the most authentic manner the experience of total lack of salvation. For both of them, the fears of a Holocaust were genuine fears. Netanyahu has never in his life as a leader experienced the feeling of total Jewish helplessness. \

Second, Ben-Gurion, and to a not insignificant extent also Levi Eshkol and Golda Meir, used the Holocaust in order to vow: “Never again.” All of them, each according to his own style, referred to that Holocaust in order to justify the sacred mission of Dimona. Just as the Holocaust is unique, so is Dimona unique.

Netanyahu received Dimona ready made. Contrary to Israel’s former leaders, Netanyahu’s political use of the Holocaust is a tactic; it is demagoguery and it is a bluff. By scaring people about a future Holocaust, he breaks the vow and detracts from the unique quality of the Holocaust that was.

EDITOR: The special corner of Israeli parallel reality, is back by popular demand! This is where the unhinged speak their mind, where the earth is flat, and where Jews will always be victims, especially if they manage to kill many Palestinians, a fact which immediately increases their victimhood factor! This is the closest this site is coming to a humouristic section, though there is nothing funny in Israeli self-delusions. To separate the authors in this section from others above, their names have been put in RED. The daily Yedioth Ahronot, the largest in Israel, specialises in bizarre Op-Eds, that would not be out of place in Der Sturmer.

From the Horse’s Mouth: Mad Israelis Speak Out

Palestinians as ‘super victims': YNet

Op-ed: Turning Palestinians into victims a case of emotional appeals triumphing over facts
Manfred Gerstenfeld
Last week the IDF responded with bombings on Gaza targets to the rockets shot from there on southern Israel. It took little time for some foreign media to equate the Palestinian aggressor with the Israeli aggressed. It took only slightly longer to mainly highlight Israel’s actions while shoving continued Palestinian aggression into the background.

Such distortions of the truth have to be seen in a much wider context. The overall propaganda war against Israel includes frequent falsifying of facts and many fallacious arguments. Among the latter are the use of double standards, moral equivalence, distorted analogies, appeals to pity and poverty and so on.

Turning the Palestinian aggressor into the aggressed is a prime example of how emotional appeals triumph over facts. Such appeals have a prominent place in contemporary society. The poor are considered victims, even if they are criminals. In the case of the Palestinians, there is sympathy for them in many circles as underdogs. This is not undone even by the fact that Hamas, the largest political party they voted in, has genocidal intentions. Its leaders declare this openly.

The Palestinians have understood for many years how to use sentimental appeals as part of their overall propaganda strategy. In this way, they mask the long-term profound criminal ideologies that permeate their society. As one has to pose as a victim to benefit from sentimental appeals to the world, the Palestinians have aimed to become super-victims. And if the Palestinians are super-victims, then Israelis can be presented as quintessentially evil.

Palestinian sentimental appeals are not incidental but systematic. Their greatest success was at the beginning of the second Intifada. The killing of Muhammad al-Dura in 2000 was perceived internationally as an Israeli crime. It is now known that the boy was most probably killed by Palestinian fire.

There are many other examples of similar sentimental appeals. Israel has constructed a fence – which at some points is a wall – to protect itself against Palestinian suicide terrorists. Their friends abroad present this as Palestinians having been shut out by Israel arbitrarily. Those politicians calling for removal of “the wall” present themselves as humanitarians. Yet in fact, they are facilitators of the future murder of Israeli civilians.

Israeli checkpoints are also in place to prevent murderous attacks by Palestinians. In the Palestinian propaganda machine, they are another subject for sentimental appeals. They are hyped up further by the emotional emphasis placed by their foreign allies on the fact that even pregnant women are subjected to checkpoints. As if Palestinian terrorists would hesitate to dress up as pregnant women.

The flotilla sham

Until now, the success of the al-Dura fallacy seems unbeatable as the Palestinian sentimental appeal par excellence. A good runner up is the fraudulent Gaza flotilla. It was presented as a humanitarian aid effort. However the Mavi Marmara, the largest ship, carried no humanitarian aid. Neither did two others. Some goods transported were for military purposes. Other items of the aid included pharmaceuticals which had already expired. Seven of the nine people killed on the Mavi Marmara had declared their desire to die as martyrs before setting sail.

None of this was relevant for the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security Affairs Catherine Ashton, or the European and German parliaments, as well as many others who condemned Israel. This despite the fact that Israel had the legal right to uphold a blockade on Gaza and thus stop the ships. The international reactions to the flotilla were a great victory of the sentimental Palestinian appeal over the legal rights of Israel.

The recurrent success of Palestinian sentimental appeals should have alerted the Israeli government long ago that these are not unrelated incidents. After more than a decade, it should have figured out that they are an integral and systematic part of Palestinian strategy in the propaganda war. Thus, Israel should have analyzed many years ago the impact of these appeals and how to counteract them.

Unfortunately, the precise nature of this process has escaped the Israeli authorities. Some senior people in the government have even told me that nothing can be done about the defamation of Israel. To make matters worse and in an act of major stupidity, the IDF apologized incorrectly for killing al-Dura.

The issue here is not that the Palestinians have won the propaganda war and Israel has lost it. The problem is that the winner of the propaganda war may ultimately defeat the winner of the physical war. The fight against this war is painstaking. It cannot be resolved by isolated actions. It is a complex process which requires money, time, multi-disciplinary teamwork, systematic application of methodological analysis and management skills. It is a hard road, but the horrible alternative is almost certain defeat.

Zionist? Take a stand!: YNet

Op-ed: Jewish State’s supporters should be advocates for Israel’s rights in Judea and Samaria
David Ha’ivri
Did you ever stop to ask yourself what your feelings are about Portugal or India or even Kazakhstan? I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that most people outside those countries and their immediate neighbors and descendants haven’t given the question much thought. Interestingly, you’d find a total contrast if you asked the same question about Israel.

I think that it is safe to say that the percentage of people who have an opinion about Israel in the world is much greater. Hundreds of millions of people around the world – who have no direct connection to Israel – do have a set opinion about it. Most either love or hate Israel; few are indifferent.

Where do you stand? Do you love Israel or hate it? If you are a lover of Israel, how do you express that love? I have found dedicated lovers of Israel in the most remote and unexpected places in the world. Recently, Newswire reported that a man in Morocco was arrested and prosecuted for flying the Israeli flag in public. Obviously, he and his government both have strong – and conflicting – feelings about expressing support for the Jewish State.

Just the other day, the Israeli flag was defaced at the University of Southern California during a visit from Israel’s oldest social media geek, President Shimon Peres. This is the way local students responded to his flashy music clip “Like Me for Peace.” So you can see that Israel’s most basic calls for peace can be seen as a threat demanding a violent reaction.
There, on the university campus, we can find the main fronts on which Zionism is being attacked. You don’t need to go there physically. Like Shimon Peres, the anti-Israel activists know their way around the social media platforms. Type “Israel” or “Zionism” on a Twitter or YouTube search, and you will quickly be exposed to campaigns of hate and misinformation about the land and people you love. Read their words and then ask yourself: What are they saying, and what are their ultimate goals?

Passive support isn’t enough
I can save you some time. They are saying that Israel is a racist apartheid state that oppresses people merely because they are Arabs, and that Israel illegally occupies a great area of Arab land in order to strip its people of their basic rights. If you read their posts, you will not see any mention of Israel being under any kind of security threat. Rockets being shot from Gaza and terrorists climbing though residential windows to kill children do not exist there – only hot-button terms like “rights,” “justice,” and “resistance.”

Do you express your support for Israel by planning your family vacations there when you have the means available, and by going to hear Israeli speakers when they come to your town? Are you more involved through paying dues to your local Zionist organization or by buying Israeli-made products from your local Trader Joe’s? All of that is nice and on behalf of all Israelis, I thank you for supporting our economy. But if you really want to assist Israel in these difficult times, you are going to have to take a more tangible stand.

Realize the simple fact that the “Two State Solution” is really a “No Jewish State” solution. Those who could not eliminate Israel through war are now working tirelessly to erase the country you love though manipulative maneuvers.

Understand that the opponents of Israel are fighting for a Palestinian State in the West Bank – not because it is right, or because that is their ultimate goal – but because it is the heartland of the Jewish State. It is easiest for them to assault Israel from this angle and hardest for supporters of Israel to defend. The threat of a Palestinian State is an existential threat to Israel. They know that. You must realize that and help Israel fight back. This is about the life or (G-d forbid) death of the Jewish State.

Passive support is not enough. We need your help. Become an active advocate for Israel by being an advocate for Israel’s rights in Judea and Samaria. Learn the history, know the facts – they are on our side. Not only the history of the Bible, but modern history too – from Balfour through San Remo and the Six-Day War.

Israel has the right to be here, and Israel cannot survive without its heartland. By supporting Israel’s control of Judea and Samaria, you are not siding with the extreme, but with the realistic.

Many might not realize that the entire width of Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea is only 70 kilometers. Some 55 kilometers of that is Samaria, with its mountains towering over Israel’s major population center in the Tel Aviv region. Could you believe that the people who are firing rockets from Gaza into Sderot and Ashkelon would have the ability to do the same to Tel Aviv and Netanya? Rockets aimed at Israel’s main airport in Lod would surely close the country to the outside world, and that is the goal of the Palestinian State – to isolate and close down Israel as a Jewish State.

Take a stand. Speak out for the land that you love. Visit Judea and Samaria and see for yourself.

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March 18, 2012

EDITOR: Physician, heal thyself…

In a blistering attack on the Jewish diaspora, and specifically the American Jewish diaspora, A B Yehoshua is coming out as a rabid Zionist, who considers only Israeli Jews ‘full Jews’, while Jews living in the diaspora are somehow ‘partial’ Jews… He considers the Holocaust a ‘failure of the Jewish people’, but for some reason does not apply the same logic to the Zionist project, and does not see the failure to bring Jews to Israel as a failure of the project itself, but of the Jews who prefer to live in America. Well, the more painful failure of Zionism is that most Israelis also would like to live in America, and are angry with those who live there… a very interesting map of infantile anger and frustration of the Great Man of Hebrew literature. The full scale of his anti-diasporic Zionist angst is amazing to behold, and entertaining at the same time… Deep down, Israeli Zionism was always anti-diasporic, based on the” negation of the diaspora”, as pointed out by Amnon Raz-Krakozkin. The holy anger of the Prophet Yehoshua is unlikely to produce large queues at the JNF offices in New York, of partial Jews who wish to upgrade to ‘full Jew” status. If after all the wars, the money spent, and atrocities of seven decades, Jewish life in Israel is what it is, whose failure is that? The American Jews? The Jews of Kamchatka?

A.B. Yehoshua: Americans, unlike Israelis, are only partial Jews: Haaretz

Noted Israeli author says amount of immigration from the United States is minimal and embarrassing; claims that the Holocaust was a Jewish failure.
By Revital Blumenfeld
American Jews are only partial Jews while Israeli Jews are total Jews, Israel Prize laureate A.B. Yehoshua claimed at a lecture he delivered Friday on the relationship between Israel and Diaspora Jews.

A B Yehoshua, making a full coffee in a full Jewish kitchen

“They are partial Jews while I am a complete Jew,” Yehoshua said, referring to American Jewry. “In no way are we the same thing – we are total and they are partial; we are Israeli and also Jewish. In recent years, my friends and I have needed to defend Israel against the matter of the state, as if it is merely an issue of citizenship, while Israel is the authentic, deep concept of the Jewish people … in no siddur is there a mention of the word ‘Jew’ but only ‘Israeli’. The name of our country and the territory is Land of Israel – and it is about this deep matter that we must defend against a Jewish offensive.”

The lecture was part of the HaKatedra Strategic Friday lecture series, which is organized by the Land of Israel Museum.

Yehoshua added that living outside Israel “is a very deep failure of the Jewish people.” He reiterated that the settlement of Jews in the Diaspora was something they opted for 2,000 years ago, when Jews could return to Israel but chose not to, and which he says was not imposed on Jews – as it is historically presented among the Jewish diasporas. The author noted that the amount of immigration from the United States is minimal and embarrassing.

“There are about 500,000 Israelis abroad who can easily glide into their Israeliness, which they consider only citizenship and not identity … there is nearly no home without a convertible outside. I know these homes, who are well off. Why? Because they cannot find jobs here? The Swedes, too, don’t have work in high technology like they would want, but you will not see so many Swedes in the United States,” Yehoshua said.

EDITOR: Success at last!

After many decades of Israeli mutilation and control of the Palestinian economy, making sure it cannot develop and counter Israeli products sold to Palestinians, now this weakness can be used to argue that a Palestinian state is not viable… There can be other arguments also: A Palestinian state is not viable because of its lack of geographic contiguity, because the water is controlled by Israel, etc. Israel is very good producing the facts which support its illegal and illogical arguments. Of course, if a Palestinian state is not viable, then there will be a single state which should give all its citizens the same rights, a single secular democratic state! Hurrah!

Israel: Palestinian economy not stable enough for independent state: Haaretz

Government report obtained by Haaretz, to be presented before donor meeting on Palestinian aid in Brussels, rules Palestinians are still dependent on foreign aid.
By Barak Ravid
Israel is expected to present a report Wednesday at a donor meeting on Palestinian aid in Brussels claiming that the Palestinian Authority is not sufficiently stable to meet the standards of a well-functioning state.

The 44-page report, written by the Foreign Ministry and several other government ministries, will be presented by the Israeli delegation to the representatives at the donor meeting, including Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store who serves as the chairman of the committee, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, and the Mideast Quartet envoy Tony Blair. A copy of the report was obtained by Haaretz.

The report specifies a long line of actions Israel has taken to aid the Palestinian economy in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, but presents data showing that that the recent economic growth in the West Bank has stopped. Much of the data that is found in the Israeli report also appears in the report published last week by the World Bank.

Parts of the report are worded in a way that aims to make clear that the Palestinian economy is unable to support an independent state. This message stands out in light of the World Bank’s report and other reports by international bodies that were published in 2011 in preparation for the Palestinian UN statehood bid last September, that claimed the PA’s institutions are developed enough to support an independent state.

“While the present fiscal crisis was caused by a shortfall in donor aid, there were also deviations in the execution of 2011’s budget,” the report said. “The public finance management system’s role in the current crisis may undermine its track record as a system that meets the requirements of a well-functioning state.”

The report also indicated that the PA’s fiscal management contributed to the current crisis. “This demonstrates the need for further reform in order for the PA to meet the standards of a well-functioning state.”

Israel is expected to emphasize before the donor countries that despite the growth of recent years, the Palestinian Authority still needs foreign aid to survive.

“The fiscal crisis is especially acute because much of the West Bank economy still depends on the public sector and on construction projects, both still heavily financed by foreign aid. It also serves as an alarming warning sign for the stability of the Palestinian economy,” the report said.

“The current fiscal situation raises doubts about whether the PA will be able to reduce its dependency on foreign aid in the coming years.”

Another part of the report deals with the security cooperation between Israel and the Palestinian Authority and reveals interesting data which shows that during 2011, 764 meetings took place between Israeli military and police officials and their Palestinian counterpart in the West Bank – which is a 5% rise from 2010.

The report notes that IDF commanders in Samaria regularly meet their Palestinian counterparts in Jenin, Nabulus, Tulkarem, and Qalqilya.

 Back to Basics: Israel’s Arab Minority and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Crisisgroup

Middle East Report N°11914 Mar 2012

World attention remains fixed on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but a distinct, albeit related, conflict smoulders within Israel itself. It might be no less perilous. Jewish-Arab domestic relations have deteriorated steadily for a decade. More and more, the Jewish majority views the Palestinian minority as subversive, disloyal and – due to its birth rates – a demographic threat. Palestinian citizens are politically marginalised, economically underprivileged, ever more unwilling to accept systemic inequality and ever more willing to confront the status quo. Interaction with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict further complicates matters as negotiations bump against a core issue – whether Palestinians will recognise Israel’s Jewish character – that further inflames communal relations. There is no easy or quick fix. In the near term, Israel should take practical steps to defuse tensions with its Arab minority and integrate it into the civic order. In the longer run, the challenge to Israeli Jews and the Palestinian national movement is to come to terms with the most basic questions: what is the character of the state of Israel, and what rights should its Arab citizens enjoy?

For over six decades, Israel’s Palestinian citizens have had a unique experience: they are a Palestinian national minority in a Jewish state locked in conflict with its Arab neighbours but they also constitute an Israeli minority enjoying the benefits of citizenship in a state that prizes democracy. This has translated into ambivalent relations with both the state of Israel and Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and beyond. They feel solidarity with their brethren elsewhere, yet many Arabs study in Israeli universities, work side-by-side with Jews and speak Hebrew fluently – a degree of familiarity that has only made the discrimination and alienation from which they suffer seem more acute and demands for equality more insistent.

Since 2000, a series of dramatic events have both poisoned Jewish-Arab relations in Israel and reinvigorated its Palestinian minority. The collapse of the peace process and ensuing intifada harmed Israel’s relations with not only Palestinians in the occupied territories but also its own Palestinian minority. As Palestinians in Israel organised rallies in solidarity with Gazans and West Bankers, Israeli Jews grew ever more suspicious of their loyalty. Palestinian citizens’ trust in the state plummeted after Israeli security forces killed thirteen of their own during protests in October 2000. A rapid succession of confrontations – the 2006 war in Lebanon; 2008-2009 Gaza war; and 2010 bloody Israeli raid on the aid flotilla to Gaza – further deepened mistrust, galvanising the perception among Israeli Jews that Palestinian citizens had embraced their sworn adversaries. Among Arabs, it reinforced the sense that they had no place in Israel. Several have been arrested on charges of abetting terrorist activity. Meanwhile, the crisis of the Palestinian national movement – divided, adrift and in search of a new strategy – has opened up political space for Israel’s Arab minority.

As a consequence, Palestinian citizens began to look outside – to surrounding Arab states and the wider international community – for moral sustenance and political leverage. They have come to emphasise their Palestinian identity and increasingly dissociate themselves from formal Israeli politics. The result has been steadily declining Arab turnout for national elections and, among those who still bother to vote, a shift from Jewish Zionist to Arab parties. Palestinians invest more energy in political activity taking place beyond the reach of official institutions. Unsurprisingly, Sheikh Raed Salah – the leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, which refuses to engage with the country’s political institutions – has become the highest-profile Arab politician.

Yet Palestinian citizens’ conflicting experiences has meant that such reactions go hand-in-hand with others: continual demands for achieving their rights within Israel; persistent criticism of Israel’s democratic shortcomings; and the absence of any visible interest or willingness to relocate to an eventual Palestinian state. They undoubtedly feel deeply Palestinian. But they also take their Israeli citizenship seriously.

Simultaneous Arab marginalisation and revitalisation also has manifested itself in initial efforts by its leadership to define the community’s political aspirations. The so-called “Vision Documents” advocate full Jewish-Arab equality, adamantly reject the notion of a Jewish state and call instead for a “binational state” – in essence, challenging Israel’s current self-definition. This, for many Jews, is tantamount to a declaration of war.

For its part, Israel’s Jewish majority – confronted by an internal minority developing alliances outside the state and seeming to display solidarity with its foes – has grown ever more suspicious of a community it views as a potential fifth column. It has shunned Palestinians, enacted legislation to strengthen the state’s Jewish identity and sought to ban certain Arab parties and parliamentarians. Today, what for most Palestinian citizens is a principled struggle for equal rights is perceived by many Israeli Jews as a dangerous denial of Jewish nationhood. What for most Jews is akin to complicity with their enemies is viewed by Palestinian citizens as an expression of affinity for their brethren.

This is taking place against the backdrop of a peace process in which very little is happening – and what is happening only makes matters worse. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insists that the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) accept Israel as a Jewish nation-state in the context of a final status agreement. That request resonates widely with Israel’s Jews, but raises all sorts of red flags for its Palestinian citizens, who have vigorously pressed the PLO to reject it. They might not have a veto, yet President Mahmoud Abbas cannot easily dismiss their views on such matters and has shown no inclination to do so. All of which has only elevated the centrality of the demand, making it all the more important for Israel’s government and all the more unacceptable to its Palestinian minority.

Add to this the idea, floated by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s party, of “populated land swaps” – under which certain Arab-majority areas of Israel would be swapped for some of the so-called West Bank settlement blocks. Alarmed that they could twice pay the price for a two-state settlement – through acquiescence in their state’s “Jewishness” and through forcible loss of their citizenship – Israel’s Palestinian minority is making it ever clearer that peace deal or no peace deal, there will be no end to Palestinian claims until their demands also are met. To which Israel’s response is: Why pay the hefty price of an agreement with the PLO if it leaves behind an open wound right in our heart?

It was not meant to be so. Originally, the notion was that progress in the peace process would help improve Arab-Jewish relations in Israel. Instead, simultaneous deterioration on both fronts has turned a presumably virtuous circle into a dreadfully vicious one. Neither the State of Israel nor its Arab minority will be willing to reach a historic understanding before the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been settled; and settling that conflict will be near-impossible without addressing the question of Israel’s nature – which itself cannot be done without the acquiescence of Israel’s Arab citizens.

For now, this downward spiral has resulted in relatively few violent confrontations. For the most part, Israel’s Palestinians fear an escalation could erode their civil rights and further jeopardise their status in the state. But the frequency of clashes is rising. Should current trends continue unabated, localised intercommunal violence should come as no surprise.

It will not be easy to sort this out, not with a frozen peace process, not with deepening Jewish-Arab antagonism and mutual fears. But some things are clear. First, that there are long overdue measures Israel should take to begin to address its Arab minority’s demands for equal rights, regardless of the conflict with its neighbours, as well as steps Palestinian citizens can take to lessen Jewish fears. Secondly, that although obstacles to Israeli-Palestinian peace are legion, a significant one involves the dispute over Israel’s identity. Thirdly, that this obstacle cannot be overcome to any party’s satisfaction – not to the PLO’s, which cannot afford to ignore an important Palestinian constituency; not to Israel’s, which insists on ending all Palestinian claims – without buy-in from Israel’s Arab citizens.

Given this, a pathway, however tentative and uncertain, might suggest itself. Both national groups – Jews, working through their government; Palestinians, working through their national movement – could conduct, in parallel, internal deliberations over the character of the State of Israel and its implications: what it would mean practically for Israel to be accepted as the nation-state of the Jewish people; what would be entailed if Palestinians accepted the principle of Jewish self-determination; and what rights the Arab minority would enjoy? By clarifying their respective positions, Israel and the Palestinian national movement might be in a better position to grapple with issues at the core of their historic conflict. Pragmatists on both sides have begun this work, a rare bright spot in a decade-long downward spiral. But so far their efforts above all have underscored the enormity of the task that lies ahead. More will be needed for Israel and its Palestinian citizens to reach an understanding on how precisely they will live together – and avoid drifting dangerously apart.


To the Government of Israel:

1.  Take measures, pending a two-state solution, to integrate the Arab minority, redress inequities and reduce internal conflict by:

a) implementing the government’s 2010 plan to eliminate discrimination in allocation of state resources to the Arab community – particularly regarding education – through legislative and budgetary means;

b) ensuring equitable land distribution and planning and zoning regulations;

c) relaxing current restrictions that prevent access by Palestinian Muslims and Christians to certain holy places in Israel;

d) narrowing the security restrictions that constrain Arab employment in the high-tech sector;

e) condemning incitement against the Arab minority, particularly among Jewish community leaders – including politicians and rabbis – and intensifying efforts to identify and restrain those responsible for violent (“price tag”) attacks on Arab communities and Arab and Jewish activists; and

f) revoking the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law (temporary order) of 31 July 2003, which prohibits Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza married to Israeli citizens from acquiring Israeli residency permits or citizenship, and instead addressing security risks on a case-by-case basis.

2.  Sponsor an intra-Jewish Israeli dialogue on the terms of a historic reconciliation with Palestinians regarding the nature of the state and the rights of its Arab minority; under one possible outcome in the event of a two-state solution, Palestinians would recognise Jews as Israel’s national majority with a right to self-deter­mination, while the state would officially recognise Palestinian citizens as a national minority with equal individual rights as well as well as specific collective rights.

To the Leadership of the Palestinian Minority in Israel:

3.  Take measures, pending a two-state solution, to reduce internal conflict and assuage Jewish fears by using exclusively peaceful means to promote political objectives, avoiding incitement and inflammatory language and, in particular, both condemning denial of Jewish history and recognising Jewish connection with the Land of Israel/historic Palestine.

4.  Engage in a dialogue with the Palestinian national leadership on the terms of a historic reconciliation with the State of Israel regarding the nature of the state and the rights of its Arab and Jewish communities; under one possible outcome, Palestinians would recognise the status of Jews as Israel’s national majority with a right to self-determination, while the state would officially recognise Palestinian citizens as a national minority with equal individual rights as well as specific collective rights. Representatives of Palestinian citizens of Israel could include Knesset members, as well as members of political parties and civil society organisations.

To the Government of Israel and the Leadership of the Palestinian Minority in Israel:

5.  Negotiate, in the context of a two-state settlement, the precise allocation of rights and duties, including inter alia:

a) substantial Palestinian autonomy in the cultural, educational, linguistic and religious realms;

b) state recognition, protection and promotion of Palestinian national identity and heritage, in a manner compatible with the protection and promotion of Jewish national identity and heritage, including commemoration of key events such as the Nakba and including Palestinian symbols among those of the state (for instance on money notes, etc.);

c) the choice, in all dealings with the state, to use Arabic, which should remain Israel’s second official language; and

d) Jewish and Arab participation in all state institutions, including the military, on the basis of equal rights and duties.

6.  Consider establishing, as a means of facilitating such a negotiation, an elected body to represent Palestinian citizens, recognised and funded by the state.

Nazareth/Jerusalem/Ramallah/Brussels, 14 March 2012

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