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May 31, 2009

Nadim Rouhana: This suppression is symbolic of a state that fears its past: The Independent

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.

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May 10, 2009

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.

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May 1, 2009

Activists face off over draft-dodging: Ha’aretz

The police raid this week on the Ramat Hasharon home of Dutch-born activist Annelien Kisch comprised, to her, yet another sign that Israeli society rejects her “Western, anti-militaristic and peace-minded world view.” Opponents call it hypocritical for her to brandish Western values to justify breaking the law.
Officers were looking in her house near Rothberg High School for evidence the 70-year-old Kisch had abetted suspected draft-dodgers in allegedly lying to army authorities to receive an exemption from service. Kirsch is the cofounder of New Profile, which encourages youths to avoid conscription. New Profile describes itself as a feminist group devoted to “demilitarizing” Israeli society. The home of Dutch cofounder Mirjam Hadar, a neighbor of Kisch, was also raided. The two women formed the group in 1998 together with Ruth Hiller from the U.S., who also lives in the Sharon area.
Hadar, Kisch and five other people linked to New Profile were arrested on suspicion of allegedly inciting the youths to illegally obtain the service exemption (see box). Police confiscated several of the activists’ computers. All detainees were released on bail after questioning. Police forbade Hadar and Kisch to communicate with one or with the remaining five activists under investigation.
“Israeli society has zero acceptance of our message,” Kisch, who is an artist, told Anglo File on Monday in her usual, animated voice. She says people from the West are “much more receptive” to the group’s ideas than Israelis. “Israel is moving in the direction of the area in which it is located,” she observes.

Blow you can see how violent the Israeli police is against Jewish women protesters, from you can work out how nice they are to Palestinians:

Protest the investigation of New Profile and political persecution, 30-4-09 17:30, TEL AVIV‏

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March 7, 2009

Make Zionism History! boycott-israel-anim2

Help to stop the next war! Support Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions of the Israeli regime

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

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

Latuff: Friendship

Latuff: Friendship

Amnesty said the way houses had fallen suggested they had been blown up from under walls and pillars

Amnesty said the way houses had fallen suggested they had been blown up from under walls and pillars

Palestinians killed in Israeli raid: Al Jazeera

An Israeli air raid targeted Islamic Jihad members in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday [AFP ]

At least three Palestinians have been killed after Israel conducted an air raid on the Gaza Strip. Medical workers said two people were killed at the scene of the attack on Thursday near the Israel-Gaza border and a third died later in hospital. An Israeli army spokesman said the raid targeted a group of fighters who had fired an anti-tank missile at troops across the border. Shortly after the attack, three rockets fired from the territory landed in southern Israel, the military said. There were no reports of casualties.
The Islamic Jihad claimed responsibility and vowed to continue its attacks against Israel. “Our rockets and our resistance will not stop,” Abu Ahmed, an official of the armed Palestinian group, said.

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Feb 21, 2009

Support the student occupations against the illegal occupation in Palestine!

Boycott & Picket Batsheva at BAM & Everywhere: Dance Insider 

 

A protester at a Chicago performance of Israel's Batsheva Dance Company. Photo by and copyright Christine Geovanis, HammerHard MediaWorks, Chicago.

A protester at a Chicago performance of Israel's Batsheva Dance Company. Photo by and copyright Christine Geovanis, HammerHard MediaWorks, Chicago.

“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?

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Jan 31, 2009

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

Dozens believed dead in reprisal attacks as Hamas retakes control: The Guardian

• 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.

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