For the Palestinian citizens of Israel, life is becoming a collective Kafkaesque experience. For years, their state has been determined to buttress its Jewish identity by legal, constitutional, cultural, and political means, in spite of the fact that one in five of its residents is an Arab. This latest series of bills is just another part of that effort. In addition to the discrimination they already face in all walks of life, Palestinians will not be able to mourn the Nakba, the loss of their homeland, or express their opposition to Israel as a Jewish state. It is not only that they have been excluded from belonging to their homeland, which has been claimed by people who immigrated there and made exclusively Jewish; it is not only that their people have been expelled, occupied or dispersed to all corners of the world; it is not only that they are legally unequal citizens and even treated as enemies in many areas of life by the very state in which they are citizens. They also have to accept this reality: express loyalty, show no opposition, and even refrain from mourning their loss in public. The expression of the natural feelings of losing their people and homeland, the yearning to rectify injustice, and the quest to transform Israel into a democratic state will be criminalised and punishable by law if the bills are enacted. The Arab citizens have to accept Jewish superiority anchored in constitution and law, accept that their homeland is not really theirs. They have to stop being themselves if they are to avoid being punished by the Jewish state; they have to stop being human altogether. People are short of words to describe what is happening in Israel. It is becoming clear that Israel is fearful not only about the future, it is most fearful about history – and for a reason. Israel can suppress among its Jewish citizens – those who enjoy the privileges of superiority and of taking over a whole homeland – the history of the Nakba and the reality of its continuation for every Palestinian. But Israel must believe that Palestinians are subhuman if it thinks that it can suppress their feelings about the Nakba and their desire for democracy and equality and the yearning for the return of their people. For Israel to face its fear of the future it must first face history. Instead, in defiance of human nature, it is hopelessly seeking to suppress it. The author is the director of the Arab Centre for Applied Social Research in Haifa, Israel, and a professor at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Boston
Leading article: Thought crimes in Israel: The Independent
Any hope that bringing Israel’s right wing party, Yisrael Beiteinu, into government and making its leader, Avigdor Lieberman, Foreign Minister would blunt its extremist edge has been rudely shattered. Barely had the ink dried on the coalition agreement than one of the party’s members introduced a bill making it punishable by three years’ imprisonment for any Israeli Arab to mark Nakba, the Palestinian day of mourning for lost lands which coincides with Israel’s independence day. At the same time, Yisrael Beiteinu’s spokesman announced his party’s intention to bring forth legislation enforcing an oath of loyalty to Israel as a “Jewish state”. One can see the populist appeal of these measures. Lieberman owed much of his success in the recent election (his party was the third largest in the vote) to playing the “loyalty card” at a time when Israel’s Arab citizens were openly critical of the invasion of Gaza. What he and his party now want are measures which force the one million Arab citizens in the country to pledge absolute loyalty to the state. The Nakba bill, which was approved by the ministerial committee on legislation this week, is bad enough. But the bill for a compulsory oath, which is also due to go before the committee, would be a disaster. It would require anyone seeking citizenship to “make a declaration in which they commit to being loyal to the State of Israel as a Jewish, Zionist and democratic state, to its symbols and values and to serve the state as much as required through military or alternative service”. Arab citizens at the moment are not required to do military service given the sensitivities of their situation. There are many in the British National Party who would no doubt like a similar oath over here. But any democracy committed to freedom of expression knows that the road to oppression lies though just such attempts to control the thoughts of its people. And that is especially true of Israel, whose founding fathers expressly committed the new nation to principles of freedom of expression and protection of minorities. Of course Israel is a Jewish state. But it is also a democracy set in an Arab world. Its founders knew that. Let us hope that its current legislature does too.
The Zionists are reaacting evrywhere to the bDS call, inventing bizarre organisations like TULIP below, in order to bamboozle the naive and simple-minded, who, afetr 42 years of occupation,stillthink we need to smile at each other more often,and that will resolve all... On a more positive note – this proves their desperation and urgency, and the fact they recognise, as below, that the BDSmovement is provbably unstoppable!
Unions move to overturn Israel boycott: May 21, 2009
Article from: The Australian LAST month, the Scottish Trade Unions Congress became the latest in a series of unions to call for a boycott of Israeli products. Support for boycotting, divesting from and sanctions against the Jewish state appears to be growing by leaps and bounds. It has already won considerable support from trade unions in South Africa, Ireland, Britain and Norway. It seems unstoppable. But we intend to stop it. TULIP – Trade Unions Linking Israel and Palestine – is a new global movement that believes in engaging with workers and their unions in Israel and Palestine, promoting co-operation and reconciliation. We do not believe in boycotts, divestment and sanctions. We believe in peace and in a two-state solution to the conflict. Our new global movement seeks allies in unions and non-governmental organisations everywhere who want to work together to demand respect for all Palestinians, Israelis and guest workers living in that region. We believe we can take significant strides towards peace and reconciliation if we support those striving to improve the living standards of all working people in the region. There are outstanding examples of co-operation between Israeli and Palestinian unions that need to be encouraged. For example, there’s a remarkable initiative launched by the International Transport Workers Federation to make life much easier for Palestinian drivers. This has been a small but ground-breaking union agreement encouraging dialogue between the Palestinian and Israeli national trade union centres, as well as individual unions and their members on both sides of the divide. This agreement will help improve the livelihoods of hard-working union truckers and their families. As we write this the ITF is organising to move this important project to a higher level with the co-operation of the Israel trade union congress Histadrut and the Palestinian transport workers union. This model is a firm rejection of those in trade unions promoting an Israel boycott movement. This model upholds the traditional role of trade unions when faced with disputes of this kind: bridging the gap between nations at war, encouraging peace, justice and conciliation. It is a trade union tradition and role that we are particularly proud to uphold. We also applaud the role of the International Trade Union Confederation, which has helped to broker co-operation agreements between the Histadrut and the Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions. It is unfortunate that in recent years a number of national unions and trade union centres have changed course and abandoned that role.
No hope or change from Obama-Netanyahu meeting: The Electronic Intifada
Ali Abunimah,21 May 2009 Seldom has an encounter between an American and Israeli leader been as hyped as this week’s meeting between US President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. As expected, Obama committed himself to diplomacy with Iran and pledged an enormous effort to achieve a two-state solution. Netanyahu continued to incite confrontation with Iran and refused to commit himself to a Palestinian state. On the surface it may seem there are real differences and that the forces arrayed on each side — including the formidable Israel lobby — are gearing up for an epic battle to determine the fate of US-Israeli relations. But Obama offered little new, reaffirming well-worn US positions that view Palestinians, particularly Hamas, as the aggressors, and Israel as the innocent victim. While calling for Israel to halt settlement construction (as US presidents have done for decades), Obama offered no hint that he would back those words with action. Quite the contrary, the president said he would urge Arab leaders to normalize relations with Israel, rewarding it in advance of any renewed peace talks. Let us assume for the sake of argument that Obama applies unprecedented pressure to force Israel to make a deal with the Palestinians. What would such a deal look like? The outlines were suggested in the recent report sent to Obama by a group of US elder statesmen headed by former National Security Advisor Brent Scowcroft. The document, warning that there was only a “six to twelve month window” before all chances for peace evaporated, called on the US to forcefully advocate the creation of a Palestinian state. But this would be a demilitarized truncated state “based on” the 1967 borders. Israel would annex large West Bank settlements and there would be no right of return for Palestinian refugees. This “state” would be occupied indefinitely by a NATO-led “multinational force,” which the Scowcroft group suggests could also include Israeli soldiers (see “A last chance for a two-state Israel-Palestine agreement, 2009). Of course the Scowcroft proposal does not necessarily represent Obama administration thinking, but it expresses the pervasive peace process industry consensus that views such an outcome as “reasonable,” “pragmatic” and all but inevitable, and it accords with Obama’s own statements opposing the right of return and supporting Israel’s demand to to be recognized as a “Jewish state.” In other words, what the vast majority of Palestinians would view as a horrifying plan to legitimize their dispossession, grant Israel a perpetual license to be racist, and turn the apartheid regime set up by the Oslo accords into a permanent prison, is now viewed as bold and far-reaching thinking that threatens to rupture American-Israeli bonds. Netanyahu has little to lose by embarking on another “peace process” after making a show of resisting American pressure (or extracting more American concessions or money). He knows the chances of ever getting to the stated destination are nil. Obama will not apply significant pressure, and even if he did, it is unclear on whom he would apply it, since on the Palestinian side there are no leaders ready, willing and able to carry off a second Oslo-style fraud against their people.
Ask your sons: Ha’aretz
By Gideon Levy
It is behavior well known to every police investigator: First the suspect denies everything, then attacks his interrogators, then admits to a small portion of the accusations (saying he merely did what everyone does), and finally breaks down and confesses. The Israel Defense Forces returned from Operation Cast Lead and, of course, denied everything. The people applauded it for its bogus victory and no one paid much attention to the awful price paid by the Palestinians. But after the smoke (in this case, white phosphorus) cleared a bit, the blood began crying out from the ground. Foreign journalists and human rights groups investigated and reported their findings. The United Nations said the IDF intentionally targeted its facilities, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International accused the army of illegally using phosphorous bombs, the International Red Cross reported on the injured being denied medical attention and strikes on medical crews, officers at a premilitary course spoke of civilians killed, and Amira Hass wrote for Haaretz about the killing of people flying white flags, the use of flechette shells and the annihilation of entire families. The ground began trembling beneath Israel’s feet when it started attacking the emissaries of these organizations. The country’s gates were closed to the UN fact-finding mission headed by Jewish South African Richard Goldstone, as if it were Zimbabwe or North Korea, as if it had much to hide. The president brusquely rebuked the UN’s Ban Ki-moon and suggested he visits Auschwitz, until eventually the secretary general was forced to shrink from supporting his organization’s damning report. Anyone who dared investigate and report was branded anti-Semitic. Little has changed since the early-1970s report by a group of American lawyers on the Shin Bet security service’s alleged torture methods. These attorneys were immediately labeled anti-Semites. We deny, repress, lie, attack and compare ourselves to others, and our conscience remains clear. Even when the IDF admits to killing 300 civilians – 90 of them children, 50 women and 160 whose identities the army says is unclear – our story remains the same: the most moral army in the world. Not the third most, not the second – the most. After all, Yedioth Ahronoth gave that view its seal of approval in a special propaganda supplement entitled “The most moral in the world.” But let’s assume Amnesty is lying, Human Rights Watch is fabricating, B’Tselem is embellishing, the UN is anti-Israel and the media is full of hatred against us – isn’t there enough in the IDF’s own figures to shake us to the core? Three hundred civilians killed, including 90 children – isn’t that enough to expose the propagandistic lie of “the most moral” army? How many innocent people must be killed for that to happen? The IDF conducted five “investigations” (in which, naturally, only soldiers’ actions were examined), lamented one family’s tragedy, and the military correspondents applauded again. The IDF Spokesman’s Office sent battalion commanders to recite declarations on their own lofty battle ethics – with faces concealed, of course, as suspects often are – and the media didn’t burden them with questions. No one believes this war should be subjected to a serious investigation because in this war, unlike its predecessors, not enough soldiers were killed to justify that. But the truth cries out even from the collapsed and perforated rubble of what was once a home: The soldiers who were in Gaza know, as do their friends, that something terrible happened there – just as those who served in the West Bank know. Ask your sons; they know the truth – the truth is sitting in your own home. And ask the friends of your sons, and the sons of your friends – they know. Many of them are brainwashed, and for now are keeping mum. Israel is holding back the tide of reports and investigations, and putting its head in the sand of propaganda and victimization, but in the end the truth will emerge. Even the excuse “everyone does it” will not do any good, as it does no good for a driver caught speeding. The Americans kill more? The French slaughtered more? That may do for the Foreign Ministry’s automatic statements. We deserve more, we deserve the full truth – what exactly our soldiers did in our name, each of our names, on the streets of Gaza, imprisoned and bleeding for the 22 days of a useless war.
Support the student occupations against the illegal occupation in Palestine!
Boycott & Picket Batsheva at BAM & Everywhere: Dance Insider
“I think it’s not really going to make a difference to boycott a dance company…. The boycott is just preventing something that is good…. I think artists belong to a group of people who don’t represent the ugly side of Israel.” — Ohad Naharin, artistic director, Batsheva Dance Company, commenting in Straight.Com, February 12, ahead of Batsheva’s Feb. 20-21 Vancouver engagement. “The Brand Israel project, which was created during [foreign minister Tzipi] Livni’s tenure, seeks to counter the country’s aggressive and religious image abroad, using common marketing tools. If Israel is perceived as a hard, unpleasant place, resembling an armed evangelical village in Texas, then it is worthwhile to reveal softer sides to the West.” – Aluf Benn, Ha’aretz, February 18 “What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground…. A fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the Earth.” – The Bible Here’s the context of Batsheva’s North American tour, which culminates March 4 – 7 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music: Rather than alter its genocidal policies towards the Palestinians whom, as an occupying power, it has a legal obligation to *protect*, Israel has responded with a PR campaign, “Brand Israel,” designed to portray its ‘softer’ side and give a veneer of Western civilization to a country whose most recent slaughters in Gaza were barbaric. How could the beautiful bikini-clad Israeli soldiers featured in Maxim magazine in 2007 — in a photo-spread *sponsored* by the Israeli Foreign Ministry — possibly be guilty of the kind of war crimes reported by objective observers in Gaza, including dropping illegal phosperous bombs on a United Nations facility and bombing UN schools as well as hospitals and civilian homes, mowing down civilians after ordering them to leave buildings, killing more than 1300 people a third of whom were children, preventing medical aid from getting to the wounded, etcetera, etcetera?
Make Zionism History!
Support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of the Israeli regime
Israeli War Criminals – to the International Criminal Court, NOW!
Academic Boycott of Israel and the Complicity of Israeli Academic Institutions: Alternative Information Centre
The idea of an academic boycott of Israel first emerged in 2002 as part of the growing boycott and divestment campaign
against Israel, itself a part of the struggle against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories and the violation of Palestinian human and national rights. Compared to other types of boycott, the academic boycott has gathered a relative amount of widespread support amongst academic unions and organizations, primarily in Great Britain. Not surprisingly,
this relative success has stirred a public debate and opposition to the boycott, mostly by pro-Israeli organizations and academics. The campaign for academic boycott has wavered under these pressures and various degrees and measures of boycott have since been approved and then often canceled by academic organizations. The arguments in favor of this kind of boycott have relied largely on the facts of the Israeli occupation and the idea of pressuring Israel through its academic
world; often, they have not utilised details relating to the specific academic institutions that they call to boycott.
Through this report, however, the Alternative Information Center (AIC) aims to inform and empower the debate on an academic boycott by giving information not on Israeli violence and violations of international law and human rights, but on
the part played in the Israeli occupation by the very academic institutions in question. The report demonstrates that Israeli academic institutions have not opted to take a neutral, apolitical position toward the Israeli occupation but to fully support the Israeli security forces and policies toward the Palestinians, despite the serious suspicions of crimes and atrocities hovering
over them. Any who argue either for or against an academic boycott against Israeli institutions, we believe, should.
To read this excellent first proper article in English about Academic complicity in Israel’s occupation, use the link above. This is amust for anyone wondering about the justification for academic boycott! It is 64 pages long, and has more than 180 references!
Gaza 2009: We Will Never Forget
An edited video made up of some of the most famous media moments of Israel’s criminal war in Gaza
• Suspected collaborators shot during and after war
• Escaped criminals killed by relatives of their victims
Evidence is emerging of a wave of reprisal attacks and killings inside Gaza that have left dozens dead and more wounded in the wake of Israel’s war. Among the dead are Palestinians suspected of collaborating with the Israeli military. Others include criminals who were among the 600 prisoners to escape from Gaza City’s main jail when it was bombed as the war began. Their attackers are thought to be their victims’ relatives.
More than 1200 Palestinians dead, over 330 children,
111 women, and more than 5,300 wounded
What would this mean in Britain with its population of 60 million, in comparative terms?
It would mean more than 40,000 dead, 12,500 of them children, and 200,000 wounded.
Breaking News: Israel ‘to announce ceasefire’
The Israeli cabinet is set to back an end to offensive military activities in the Gaza Strip, three weeks after attacks began, the BBC understands. Israel’s leaders are expected to approve a ceasefire at a meeting later on Saturday, after which PM Ehud Olmert will address the nation, sources said. The sources said the ceasefire deal did not involve Hamas. It is not clear how Hamas will respond; its officials say the group will ignore any truce unless its demands are met. Ahead of the move violence continued in Gaza, with 50 Israeli air strikes overnight. Rocket fire from Hamas militants also continued. About 1,200 Palestinians have been killed since the violence began on 27 December. Thirteen Israelis – three civilians and 10 soldiers – have been killed during the campaign.
As usual, the Israelis are choosing their own timing to pull out, and their own terms. No one who could force them to stop this did, so why not choose their time and place? They may be out in a day or two, but we must go on, and intensify our work against the murders and war criminals. Let us not rest, use the fact that Israel is the most hated regime anywhere now, and act to end the nightmare of Zionism NOW!
Eyewitness report – Monday, December 29th
After the police brutality last night, we were expecting more of the same tonight. Interestingly, it did not quite happen – orders from above, after the politicians must have seen the shocking footage from last night, meant that they have not tried the same tactics, and they were right not to: many more people have come, with hundreds of young children and babies. Any police assault would have ended with deaths and numerous injuries. But it was even more interesting than that. On this evening, the police chose not to block all traffic, like they did yesterday, but to block only on one side on the road, allowing the traffic to separate the demo from Palace Green. In order to limit movement, they have incarcerated some 2500 people into a tiny area surrounded by metal barriers, and one could hardly move at all, creating much consternation and additional anger. After last night, the anger was not just about the brutalities of Israel in Gaza, but also about the supine acquiescence of the UK in the massacre, by joining the US in allowing the Israelis to do what they will, as they did during the destruction of South Lebanon in Summer 2006. The brutality used last night to disperse the demonstrators, was obviously read as an icon of this behaviour.
After some 30 minutes of spending time in this corralled area, treated by the police as so much cattle, and anger rising from all, some taunts by the police manning the barriers led to an amazing feat – the whole file of the demonstrators at the front started dragging and pushing the barriers towards Palace Green and embassy road gate, pushing the policemen into that enclave. All hell broke loose, and for some long moments it was felt that the events of last night may be repeated, with a Vengeance. It seems that someone high up at the Met was more responsible tonight – after the police have retreated to the safe area behind the iron gates of Palace Green, joining the many hundreds which were already there, presumably to protect the Israeli embassy from some tank divisions, the demonstrators were now in control of the road, and traffic came to a halt, with cars and buses stuck in the middle of the road; there was nowhere for them to go, but to turn back. The police have abandoned the road to the protesters, a rare sight, bearing witness to the strength of emotions of the protesters, and police recognition of it. The demonstration was full of hundreds of parents with young children, none of them less angry than the rest of us; the police had decided to avoid conflict for the time being, but hundreds more of the riot squad arrived and placed themselves at the periphery, ready to pounce of the demonstrators. For the following two and a half hours, the protesters controlled the road and the police were lying back, having experimented with removal of the demo and failed. It was quite a sight – the large forces of the riot police hidden behind the gates of Palace Green, bidding their time, and having to deal with a virtual rain of footwear going their way; many demonstrators have decided on homage to the Iraqi journalist who threww the show at Bush, and directed their shoes at the police as a pointed reminder of what they think of the British position towards this unfolding tragedy. Only by 19:00 has the demo started to disperse, at which point the police moved in like a large commando group, pouncing on youngsters which they have marked for arrest. They have failed twice to make any arrests as the whole crowd was struggling against them, and had to retreat again. Unfortunately, after many of the demo has dispersed, they have manged to arrest eight demosnstrators for what they called ‘public order offences’, as usual. All in all, this was a most successful day of action, in which the whole of Central London was affected by the demo, and there could be no doubt that the message is being transmitted loud and clear. Let us hope that someone tell Gordon and David, the two great supporters of israeli war crimes.
On walking to the station, many demonstrators were stopped and searched, according to what legislation one is not sure – it must be that they were terror suspect… one of them was the Al Jazeera reporter, and this little scene was captured by Mike Cushman of BRICUP. Please watch democracy in action!
Early stages of the demo
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