Archive for April 2015

Humiliated at Ben Gurion airport

April 30, 2015

ag30_1981379_2.jpg32

Mondoweiss http://mondoweiss.net continues in the best Jewish prophetic tradition to tell the truth about what passes for democracy in Israel. The creation (2007) of Jewish American journalist Phil Weiss,it largely deals with US foreign policy in the Middle East and breaks stories which timorous newspapers refuse to run.

Read this account of two idealistic young French citizens whose major crime was creating a music school in Jericho.They decided to come back and visit friends. The shocking treatment they received is fairly typical of anyone who dares to mention a Palestinian centre(in this case Ramallah) in the West Bank.

Now ask yourself what if a federal employee in Canada or the USA treated visitors like Philomene and Bastien were treated. It staggers the imagination.

And israel wonders why young American Jews are abandioning Zionism in droves.

Follow the comments after the article.

Amigo for example  states:

Welcome to Israel. Are you Jewish–if not get lost.
” He asks why he is so nervous, why he is trembling; doesn’t that prove he’s lying?”customs officer.
Has he not heard. Israel has a somewhat bad reputation.
What a country.And we have folks who post here who are proud of this so called light unto the nations.
Go figure.

Here is the sad story Mondoweiss ran about Philomene and Bastien.

We are two students, both studying musicology at the Université Paris 8 and in the CRR 93 at Aubervilliers and the CRD at Gennevilliers [translator’s note : all located in the suburbs north of Paris]. After taking our baccalauréat exams at the end of high school, we left in September 2013 to spend a year living in Palestine. We gave and attended music classes (violin and flute) at the Edward Said National Conservatory in Ramallah and helped to create a music school in Jericho. This year we had decided to go back during our recent Easter break to see our friends again and to return to the places where we had spent time the previous year.

On Sunday April 19, we arrived at 2:30 AM at Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv. At the customs desk we stated the purpose of our visit ; but when the officer heard the word « Ramallah » we were sent straight to a small room where other people were waiting for us. We were immediately asked to write our telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.

After an hour’s wait, a security officer came to pick up Philomène, telling her to take her luggage. In this first interrogation, the security officer asked her the reason for her visit, whether or not she had previously been to Israel, and why. After a few minutes, he began to get angry and called her a « liar » because it seemed to him impossible that a 20-year old would come to Palestine for a year for the sole purpose of playing and studying music. He asked her whether or not she had a Palestinian cell phone. She said no because she was afraid of placing her contacts in a bad position. The man stood up and pounded the desk with his fists, saying « You’re a liar, I don’t believe you ! » He then brought Philomène back to the waiting room and asked Bastien to follow him. The same script ; he warned him that his friend is a liar and that he had better not tell any lies. Bastien told him the truth but the officer didn’t believe him, and a dialogue of the deaf ensued. Then he ordered him to bring our Palestinian SIM cards and our camera. Having made Bastien translate all the messages on the cell phone and watch him look at our Paris photos to be sure we weren’t activists, he told him to return to the waiting room.

Two hours later, and after having seen many people leave with a visa, the same officer called to Philomène to follow him. He asked the same questions but this time, he says he is convinced that she has taken part in demonstrations. She insists she hasn’t. He continued until she broke down and started crying. Then it was Bastien’s turn, he was also accused of taking part in demonstrations, and advised to stop lying. He went to his Facebook account and asked whether or not he know a « Marie Ballanger. » Bastien said no, then the officer got angry and said that she was one of his Facebook friends and that she had been refused entry last December Bastien understood then that he had meant « Bérengère, » a friend who had indeed been refused entry recently. At that point he said that he did know her and was immediately insulted because he hadn’t reacted right away. He was then sent back into the waiting room.

By then it was 8 AM, there are only five of us in the small room. We are trembling, we want to throw up, we can’t eat the dry sandwich Israeli security had brought us. Next to us a Russian woman passed out ; a security officer stuffed a suitcase under her feet and waited for her to come to, alone; 15 minutes later, a man came to take care of her. We also saw someone from Chad who, after having handed over all the money he was carrying, was handcuffed and sent away somewhere. A fifty-year-old man, exhausted, was crying in a corner. The wait was growing unbearable, inhuman, we need to walk to feel better. Outside the room we see young people of our age who are also dealing with security, laughing, calling out, using the phone, talking about shopping… completely oblivious.
The officer finally came back to talk to Bastien. He refuses to believe him when he denies having taken part in demonstrations; he asks why he is so nervous, why he is trembling; doesn’t that prove he’s lying? He pretends not to understand that we have already spent 5 1/2 hours there after a day-long plane trip, and at a certain point a normal person can’t take any more. The officer insists that Bastien, being pro-Palestinian, can’t have spent a year in Palestine without having gone to Bil’in, a village known for its resistance. Having never demonstrated, Bastien continued to insist that he hadn’t been there. When Philomène’s turn came, he asked her exactly the same questions. She gave the same answers.

We returned to the waiting room, not knowing what to think; would we get a visa after all ? Would we be denied entry? We fought off sleep and numbness. At 9 AM an Israeli immigration officer came to look for us. He explained that we are too dangerous for their « democracy » and that, although we are students and musicians, they don’t believe us and they are going to bring us to a detention center while we waited for the return flight at 4 PM. From that moment on we are treated like terrorists. We even need to be accompanied to the bathroom. They bring us to the immigration office to take our fingerprints and a photo in order to « telephone our relatives, » according to them. Philomène offers to play the violin because they don’t believe us. The officer answers coldly that he doesn’t like music.

Next they bring us to the search room, where for the space of an hour we are treated as objects. All our bags are opened, all our clothing and other items are checked, then we are strip searched in a dressing room. Total humiliation. They disassemble Bastien’s suitcase and keep it and put all his things in a box. We now have fluorescent stickers on all our bags.

Another wait. We ask when we can use the telephone, we are told « in a few minutes, » which is what we have been hearing all night. Finally at 10:30 AM, we leave the terminal in an armored car that drives us, with the Russian woman, to the detention center.

At the center, our jailers put our things in a room and tell us to take our money and our cigarettes if we want to smoke. Our cell phones are forbidden, but we can finally contact our relatives, eight hours after our arrival. We go out to breathe some fresh air, always accompanied, in a closed courtyard. Then they bring us to a cell, in which we will stay until our flight. Here we are locked up, with no notion of time in a dirty place, covered with fleas and less afraid than feeling a sense of absurdity that makes us laugh slightly. Three and a half hours later we leave.

At 3 PM we finally leave the prison and return to the armored car that drives us directly to the runway where our plane is waiting for us. Another inconvenience : we learn that our flight is to Brussels; if we want to go to Paris, we have to wait another eight hours at the airport. We board the plane; our jailers give our passports to the flight attendants who help us in, looking sorry.

Five hours later (and 17 hours after our landing) our passports are returned to us when we arrive in Brussels, where the Belgian border police is waiting for us. They bring us to an office to check whether we are dangerous for their country. We are not. We decide not to fly back to Paris; we prefer to return to France on our own the following day.

Every year, at Ben Gurion airport, numerous visitors from a variety of origins are treated similarly. Their most elementary human rights are flouted: violation of intimacy, psychological torture, dehumanization, racism, theft, trauma. Few of them present a real danger to Israel. In this way, Israel interferes with the smooth development of a great number of humanitarian, cultural, and other projects. At present, nothing is done about this. What happens at that border is unknown to all. Our states have the power to stop these abuses. We have the obligation to inform as many people as possible so that one day, human rights will be respected at that border. We hope that this testimony can serve to help change this unfortunate reality.

Philomène Constant et Bastien Anthoine, Angers, France, le 22 avril 2015
This account appeared today on the site of AURDIP, Association des Universitaires pour Respect du Droit International en Palestine. It was translated from the French by Michael Harris.

Advertisements

The Strange Case of Dorothy Thompson

April 29, 2015

dorothy-thompson-granger

In an age of mass amnesia, it is refreshing to see the role of the internet which periodically breaks important stories that the self-censoring concentrated media ownership has fignored. Ditto for documentarians with a conscience.

Mondoweiss has published a brilliant article by journalist Gil Maguire on the silencing of the long forgotten Dorothy Thompson.

History in the age of mass entertainment goes as far back as the Beatles but there are always truth tellers who say, Hey,wait a minute. Don’t you remember…in this case Dorothy Thompson.

The reason Thompson has been resurrected was a reference made by president Obama at Saturday April 25th’s White House Correspondents Association dinner.The president reminded journalists of their actual mission:

“In the words of the American foreign correspondent Dorothy Thompson: ‘It is not the fact of liberty but the way in which liberty is exercised that ultimately determines whether liberty itself survives.’”

It is dubious if any of Obama’s speech writers really knew that Thompson’s extraordinary career ended in charges of antisemitism by Zionists.She probably was the first of serious journalists who were marginalized for questioning the injustice of Zionist expansionism

But times are changing. Zionism has long lost its luster and some writers with a memory are prone to remind the public of the shameful treatment which prophets such as Thompson have been treated. One such writer is Gil Maguire who actually has read the stunning Thompson biography American Cassandra by Peter Kurth. The book has long vanished.Even the great Toronto Public Library has no copies to circulate.

Maguire paraphrasing Kurth writes deftly about this amazing woman. Born in 1893, a grad of Syracuse University, she became active in the American suffragette movement.Off to Europe in 1920, Thompson met a boatload of Zionists on their way to a conference in London.She immediately was converted and ended up covering the conference as a free lancer.This brought her to the attention of major New York papers and in 1925 she headed the Berlin bureau for the New York Post. In 1934 after a series of exposés on the Nazi movement she was expelled from Germany.By then her reputation made, she became a syndicated columnist and commentator on NBC. By 1938 she was on the cover of Time Magazine. Next to Eleanor Roosevelt she was the most famous woman in America.

Parker wrote passionately about the plight of the Jews and antisemitsim. At the famous Zionist convention at the Biltmore Hotel in 1942 she was the keynote speaker demanding unrestricted immigration to America, She had become the darling of Zionism and the Jewish community.

Everything changed as it often does when people are confronted with reality. Her fact finding trip to Israel in 1945 permanently removed her rose colored glasses.The proposed State of Israel was a potential disaster, a “recipe for perpetual war.” You can’t pay for Hitler’s crimes in an area which had nothing to do with Hitler or his crimes.” she said. Zionism was far from the liberal crusade that the leaders envisaged.
Maguire describes her rapid descent to pariahdom:

Her anti-Zionist statements and reporting began losing her the support of American Zionists. Her boss at the New York Post dropped her “On the Record” column at the beginning of 1947.  He was a strong supporter of Zionism and very close to the Irgunists and Menachem Begin, the leader of this Jewish terrorist group.  Thompson had told him, after her trip to Palestine, that “…the situation there is not the way it has been presented by many of the Zionists.  It is one of the most complicated and difficult problems on the earth today.”

Dorothy Thompson refused to shut up.The war of 1948 showed Zionism as “an aggressive, chauvinist movement” and the new State of Israel as “an expansionist power.” Much like Albert Einstein and Hannah Arendt she was “angered by Jewish terrorism in Israel and appalled by Menachem Begin and the Irgun being treated as heroes in New York City.” Thompson permanently sealed her fate by being first and only American journalist to speak out in defense of the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab nations, Now this fearless supporter of Jews was an officially an antisemite. She said that it was very dangerous to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism.”

Thompson paid a truly terrible price for her honesty losing many Jewish friends whom had previously honoured her.

But she still would not keep quiet.Her columns were dropped.Her speaking engagements vanished.The early 50’s were a horrific period to criticize Israel.The world still w out of deep sympathy for the victims of the Nazi holocaust refused to accept any criticism of the Jewish state

She wrote in 1950, “The Zionists would like us to believe that there is no such thing as an Arab”, and that “They have also adapted the attitude that the State of Israel, unlike every other state on earth, is sacrosanct, and outside any criticism whatsoever.”  She called Israel, “the 49th state of the Union”, and “the only nation in history to have been canonized at birth.”

By 1950 the former media darling who actually had been encouraged by Claire Booth Luce and others to run for president in 1948 was now yesterday’s woman.she would not be the first victim of the Zionist thought police in America.Forgotten today and unremembered Dorothy Thompson as biographer peter Kurth called her was truly an American Cassandra, a woman who committed professional suicide because she could not abide the silence around the dispossession of the Palestinian people.

Journalist Maguire with a dollop of sarcasm concludes his brilliant article this way:
Dorothy Thompson is virtually unknown and unremembered.This fascinating woman who deserves to be an icon of the feminist movement, is rarely, if ever, mentioned as an important female historical figure.
I suspect there were very few members of the press at the White House Press dinner Saturday night who have any inclination toward investigating and reporting the plight of the Palestinians, or the pernicious influence of right wing Jewish billionaires on American foreign policy, and now American presidential candidates. President Obama’s gratuitous praise of the American press, at least the television version, was largely undeserved.  Many are little more than talking heads on “news” networks that offer mostly infotainment and shameless touting of marginal news stories accompanied by frequent and breathless claims of more “breaking news”.   The entire bunch couldn’t fill Dorothy Thompson’s left shoe.  To suggest that our TV press is focused on preserving our liberty is ludicrous when ratings and advertising revenue are the obvious focus. 

The Dollar Man

April 28, 2015

creflo-dollar

Televangelist Creflo Dollar a superstar of the prosperity gospel recently blasted “the enemy” for criticizing his dream of buying his pastors and staff at World Changers Church International a $65 million private Gulfstream G650 jet. Carol Kurville undressed this “reverend”on the Huffington Post.I wonder where Creflo studied scripture. Maybe the University of Centre Island or some other diploma mill.

This biblical illiterate is hardly alone when it comes to disfiguring Christianity but his gall is beyond belief.

“Let me tell you something about believing God,” he’s shown saying in a YouTubevideo of a sermon given at the World Dome, his 8,500-seat sanctuary in College Park, Georgia. “I can dream as long as I want to. I can believe God as long as I want to. If I want to believe God for a $65 million plane, you cannot stop me. You cannot stop me from dreaming.”

No,Mr Dollar but you got all the wrong dreams if you are referencing Jesus of Nazareth.The “prosperity gospel” has long preyed on the poor, the weak and the vulnerable who desperately want to escape their harsh conditions.They are told that believing in Jesus will make you richer.It does make the Dollar man rich.He really does need a private jet to spread his confusion among the vulnerable.

Poor willy Loman had ‘wrong dreams” in Arthur Miller’s great play Death of a Salesman but he only hurt himself and his family but this guy is over the top
Dollar’s initial request reportedly entailed asking 200,000 followers to donate $300 each to fund the effort, according to Christian Post. The fundraising page has since been taken down.

Dollar claims it was the devil that stirred the campaign against him. He believes Satan was trying to discredit him in order to stop the gospel from spreading.
You’d think anybody who is still blaming Satan has long ago surrendered any scriptural credibility. But no,the beat goes on.

“The enemy has got to discredit the voices of faith and grace and truth because he don’t want you to know that you can walk on the water if you can look at Jesus. I’ve got to discredit that man before he starts showing people Jesus,” Dollar said during the sermon.

Only in America? No but mainly in America among the poor and fundamentalist. Remember the 50 million books sold on the end times. The Late Great Planet Earth is the all time “religious” best seller.

Now here comes Creflo and the Jets.

Crashing the Israel love in

April 25, 2015

images-2

The battle for justice in Israel/Palestine according to the brave israeli journalist Gideon Levy will take place in the diaspora. He writes as many do in Israel, that the country is in a trance, hopelessly divided, unsure of itself and in the grip of weak leaders like Netanyahu. The simple truth is that history has caught up with the sin of Zionism, now seen as as a retrograde colonial settler movement which displaced an indigenous people.

The diaspora is frayed. many Jews, particularly the young, raised in historical tradition of human rights simply cannot abide what Israel is doing and has been doing to the Palestinians for decades. The great historian Ilan Pappé who basically was chased out of Israel has termed this “incremental genocide.’ Many North American Jews of course have no understanding of this, never unlike Gideon Levy, having visited the West Bank or Gaza. The latter you can’t get into anyway. Israel will not let you see the horrific devastation it has visited upon this population. In essence, most people, Jews or non-Jews do not know what they are talking about, never having seen up close the humiliating oppression which Palestinians live under.

So now what we have which is unique is young Jews breaking with their tribal elders for the simple reason that Israel can no longer in an internet age hide their truly barbaric behaviour. Enough internationals and church groups have been and come back to North America stunned at what they have encountered, a reality hidden from Jewish visitors who never ever go to the West Bank. Easily manipulated they are.
This brings us to a Yom Ha Atzmaut celebration interrupted in Baltimore. This is the celebration of Israel’s Independence (May 15,1948).the day is always celebrated on the 5th of Iyar on the Hebrew calendar.

You got to love these “Jews of conscience” like those in the American Jewish Voice for Peace (VP) who had the cojones to interrupt the Yom Ha’Atzmaut party held at a downtown bar. They simply denounced it as a celebration of ethnic cleansing.They then distributed educational flyers about the Nakba, the “catastrophe” which Israel refuses to acknowledge, the dispossession of Palestinians from their homeland in 1948.

The members of Baltimore JVP object to aspects of these agendas, especially to what they call the “celebration of Israeli nationalism at the expense of Palestinian human rights,” according to a letter the group sent to the organizers.The letter, signed by over 30 local Jews, stressed both the “displacement and continuing abuse of Palestinians,” as well as the way these kind of events “misrepresent and alienate us [as Jews.]”

When members of JVP were denied a meeting with the organizers they decided to “crash the party,” which they consider a celebration of “the atrocities done in the name of Judaism,” according to Sam DiDonato, a JVP member who signed the letter and participated in the interruption. At 9:10  in a carefully planned chorus, the group clinked a glass to call attention to their message and surprised the crowd by chanting “stop celebrating ethnic cleansing!” numerous times as they confuted the space with hundreds of flyers.

The good news is that these Jews of conscience are growing and refusing to be cowed by their elders and in particular their rabbis who are complicit by their silence.

Israel is a state! Independent Jewish Voices

April 23, 2015

Harp-Israel

Sid Sniad sends this from B.C.

In recent years, Israel and its allies have become increasingly concerned about the growing international movement to expose and sanction Israel’s behaviour. Their chosen response appears to be one designed to intimidate and suppress this opposition through the threat or actual use of legal punishments. Nowhere has Israel’s call for help in this outrageous endeavor been more enthusiastically embraced than in the right-wing Canadian government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, which is widely considered Benjamin Netanyahu’s strongest ally.

In the face of growing intimidation from the Harper government, Independent Jewish Voices – Canada (IJV) decided to write a statement that identifies the tangible threat to criminalize criticism of the state of Israel in Canada. We reached out to civil society organizations across the country, with the goal of finding broad public support in defense of our civil liberties, which are already under attack through the terrifying Bill C-51.

Here is the full text of the statement, entitled “Oppose the Canadian government’s threat to criminalize criticism of Israel”:

In 2009, the Canadian government gave major support to the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA), a group of parliamentarians who accused those challenging Israel’s unjust treatment of Palestinians of being anti-Semitic. The goal of the CPCCA was to create a climate in which criticism of Israel could be criminalized in Canada. Fortunately, that initiative was unsuccessful, thanks to widespread opposition from members of the Canadian public.

In what appears to be another attempt to suppress criticism of Israel, the Canadian government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Israel which makes the claim that “the selective targeting of Israel is the new face of anti-Semitism” and declares that Canada will oppose those who support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Shortly after the MOU was signed, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney announced to the UN General Assembly that the Canadian government would exercise “zero tolerance” toward “all forms of discrimination including rhetoric towards Israel, and attempts to delegitimize Israel such as the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.”

All this follows on the fact that in October 2014 the Canadian government passed changes to the criminal code in Bill C-13 which expanded the definition of identifiable groups to be protected against public incitement to hatred to include “nations”. This change to Canadian law parallels the situation in France, where alterations to the French penal code have led to the conviction of twenty French citizens who support the BDS movement, on charges of inciting racial hatred.

It is not yet clear how the Canadian government intends to implement a policy of “zero tolerance” to those who exercise their freedom of speech by advocating and participating in boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigns to pressure Israel to respect the rights of Palestinians. What is clear, however, is that the Canadian government is determined to target people who expose and oppose Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians. Such efforts by the government can only put a chill on Canadian democracy and may lead to the criminalization of such dissent down the road.

We are unequivocal in our condemnation of all forms of racism, including anti-Semitism. It must be stressed that it is not anti-Semitic to criticize the state of Israel. Those who equate such criticism with a hatred of Jewish people are simply attempting to silence Israel’s critics.

In the face of these actions on the part of the Canadian government, we must defend the right of people in a democracy to criticize any government’s behaviour and to participate in boycotts designed to alter that behaviour if they choose to do so.

————-

We, the undersigned organizations, oppose attempts by the Canadian government to criminalize criticism of or opposition to the actions of any country.

The positive response to this IJV initiative has been inspiring. At last count, 81 organizations from across English-speaking Canada and Québec – including major trade unions, labour councils, civil liberties, anti-war, faith-based, student and other groups — have endorsed the statement.

The Harper government has yet to take punitive actions in pursuit of these outrageous assaults on our freedom of expression. But progressive forces in Canada clearly stand ready to mount a vigorous response if and when they do.

He’s a John Paul ll bishop

April 22, 2015

The Archdiocese of Kingston had a festival for youth  in October called Shine Like the Son a pun on sun referring to Jesus.

And Padre Roberto tells me that the “star’ was the auxiliary bishop of Ottawa, Christian Riesbeck

And the first thing out of his mouth was “I am a John Paul ll bishop’. MMM what’s up here? Not unusual according the Insider. Many of these bishops do not like Francis and his “mercy” talk, his insistence on consulting the laity and “getting the smell of the sheep on them.’ so they are now self-designating themselves as JP ll bishops. This is code for, “I do not like the direction the present pope is moving”.

Riesbeck methinks does not dig the new Pope Francis.

Not unusual these days. so many of these right wing bishops, Riesbeck belongs to a an ultra conservative order called Companions of the Cross, very Rome centred—unless it’s a Vatican ll pope like Francis.

So in front of all these kid he identifies himself as a “John Paul ll bishop.” How lame.
You have a festival named for the crucified kingdom bringer, the radical rabbi Jesus of Nazareth and this guy identifies himself as a “John Paul ll bishop.”

That’s how hard it is for Francis, dealing with guys like this.

bill-keep-calm-3
Where is Bill Murray when we need him? The irish mick comedian from Chicago had a great stock line when confronted with absurd statements that Riesbeck made.

“I have to laugh.”

Zionism is the problem

April 18, 2015

images

Judaism is Torah, ethics, an exaltation of the spirit. If Judaism is truly Torah, then it cannot be reduced to the confines of any particular territory, for as scripture said of Torah, it’s measure is greater than the Earth.

Rabbi Aaron Samuel Tamarat 1929

At one time the Jewish community had fierce proponents of justice in their pulpits. Then a strange thing happened.The date usually given is June 1967, the 6 Day War when Israel easily defeated the Egyptian army. Of course the Israeli government as it usually did  and continues to do  prepped the people and the docile public that this would be a fight to the finish, little Israel (always David, not Goliath) was fighting for its survival.It was never the case and was best explained by Mordecai Benton a Knessert member on April 14,1971 “The entire story of the extermination was invented in every detail and exaggerated a posterior to justify the annexation of new Arab territory.”
General Matti Peled who was the chief of Logistical Command during the war agreed: the thesis according to which Israel was fighting for her survival was nothing but a bluff which was born and bred after the war…. Israel was never in real danger and there was no evidence that Egypt had any intention of attacking Israel”

Well Jewish pride exploded all over the world.The bigger story however was the steady erosion of Judaism in favour of rabid Zionist national values.This was also the beginning of the so-called religious Zionism, a movement which arrived just in time as political Zionism was beginning to lose its lustre and its moral steam—because the world began to finally understand that the dark underbelly was the oppression of another people,the Palestinians whose lands were stolen and were living in misery in refugee camps.

Then voila—the miracle, a gift from heaven, a divine intervention! Against all odds the little David had defeated Goliath the mighty Arab forces. having taken most of the Palestinian home in 1948, Israel began the move to colonize the West Bank, steal the rest of the land, albeit slowly, dunam by dunam, mule by mule as the saying went. An incremental genocide was on its way Now the Zionist dream seemingly was under a religious canopy. The messianic redemption was on its way and it would be the indigenous people who would pay.

All this was blessed by the influential rabbis in particular the Kooks pere et fils. Avraham Yitzhak Kook (d 1935) saw secular zionism as paving the way for redemption.his son Zvi Yehuda Kook fleshed out his father’s unique religio-political Zionism which birthed the Gush Emunim, the infamous settlers who tell the world that God gave us this land.For the next thirty years it would be these fanatics which would control both Labour and Likud and help drag Israel into a pariah status and worse, co-opt Torah Judaism.It must be God’s will. the redemption of the land is finally begun. blessing oppression, depopulation and ignoring the united Nations,religious zionism began to cut the heart of Judaism.

it was a great Toronto rabbi Reuben Slonim who saw the terrible effect that the so-called miracle was having on Jewish ethics. For him he rise of the “tough Jew” had severely compromised Jewish ethics. By opting for power too many Jews were unable to see that the price paid—the displacement, then the cruel oppression and ghettoization of the Palestinian people–had wreaked havoc with the deepest values of Torah. The universal lessons of the Holocaust had not been internalized to include the suffering of others. “The Six Day War plunged Toronto’s Jews into an orgy of chauvinism from which they never recovered.”

Reuben Slonim paid a ferocious price for his principled defense of Judaism’s universal values. he lost his pulpit and became a pariah in the community.Before him Toronto had strong justice rabbis Maurice Eisendrath at Holy Blossom temple (1929 -1943) was thoroughly engaged in the issues of the time as was his successor Avraham Feinberg(1943-1961).The former took the Torah into the streets and marched with Dr.King) and the latter was a leader in anti-racism, nuclear disarmament and actually met with Ho Chi Minh, so disgusted was he as a rabbi emeritus in 1966 that he led marches up Yonge  Street against the war.

But now? Silence from the synagogue even after the last butchery in Gaza when over 500 children were murdered with seldom as peep. The war in Lebanon (2006) and the other Gaza turkey shoots against a defenseless people. More silence. And signs in front of shuls: time to stand up for Israel but none reading stand up for Torah.

Allan Brownfield writing in the American Council for Judaism”, Spring 1997 summed up this sad development in these words
The corruption of Judaism, as a religion of universal values, through its politicization by Zionism and by the replacement of dedication to Israel for dedication to God and the moral law, is what has alienated so many young Americans who, searching for spiritual meaning in life, have found little in the organized Jewish community.”
Having witnessed the war on Lebanon (2006) and three punishing assaults on the civilians of Gaza Brownfeld wrote in 2014,”What we are witnessing today, synagogues flying Israeli flags, programs urging American Jews to immigrate to Israel, their real homeland, is a form of idolatry, making the sovereign state of Israel the object of worship, rather than God.
These are challenging times for the synagogue when so many liberal rabbis consider themselves muzzled by congregants more Zionist than Jewish. However, the very same dynamic exists in Catholic churches today. Colonized by decades of turbocapitalism, silenced by consumer comforts and led by an episcopate more in love with charity than justice we too fit the description of Irish priest Diarmuid Omurchu:
We have come a long way from the fiery prophetic figure
Jesus of Nazareth who shocked and disturbed the conventions of his day in the name of justice and liberation. Our respectability has taken a terrible toll on the authentic calling of Christian life.

We have lost sight of the deeper vision and lost heart
for the passion and enthusiasm of God’s New Reign.
The following of Jesus is not a respectable religion.

Israel: the brainwashed country Gideon Levy in Washington

April 14, 2015

images-1

On April 10 renowned Israeli journalist Gideon Levy spoke at the National Press Club in Washington and stunned the crowd into silence with his shocking common sense which few Americans would dare replicate.At first the Haaretz columnist thought that the invitation was from the powerful lobby group AIPAC. Levy’s response was:

I said, That’s the chance of my life. I am going to come there to Washington and tell them, with friends like you, Israel does not need enemies.

Levy reiterated the remarks he made in Toronto on March 24 that hope was in the diaspora the USA in particular. Israel is a lost cause. We don’t want to know and most of all do not care.

“Change will have to come here. In Israel– is a lost case, forget about it. Israeli society has surrounded itself with shields, with walls, not just physical walls but also mental walls.”

There are 3 principles which Israel lives by:

1. We deeply believe we are the chosen people.Then we have the right to do what we want.”

2. Never in history has the occupier presented himself as the victim. And not only the victim– but the only victim around

3. Israelis have undertaken the “systematic dehumanization of the Palestinians.” And this allows Israelis to live with everything. Because the occupation does not involve questions of human rights.

“And if you scratch under the skin of almost every Israeli, you will find there, almost no one will treat the Palestinians as equal human beings like us.”

Israelis have undertaken the “systematic dehumanization of the Palestinians.” And this allows Israelis to live with everything. Because the occupation does not involve questions of human rights.

This set of three beliefs has allowed Israelis to live in peace with those ongoing crimes, for many years.

Levy went on to speak about his own experience. Unlike most Israelis and North American tribalists, he had never tasted the sour grapes of oppression until he travelled into the occupied territories. There he experienced, and still does “a criminal project just half an hour away from Israeli homes.”

We have to face reality, and reality is that there is no chance for a change from within the Israeli society. No way…  The only hope is for an international intervention, and the only hope is from this place, from Washington, from the United States, from the EU. Only from there.

Because Israeli society is today by far too brainwashed. Life in Israel is by far too good. Israel is, let’s face, it a society which lives in denial, totally disconnected from reality. Would it be a private person, I would recommend either medication or hospitalization. Because people who lose connection to reality might be very dangerous either to themselves or to society. And the Israeli society lost connection with reality, it lost connection with the reality in its backyard, it totally lost connection with the international environment.

Really to believe that 5 million Jews know better than 6 billion people of the world? Really believe that 5 million Jews will be able to continue to live on their sword forever? Is the one example in history in which any country lived on its sword forever? Empires! Really believing that in the 21st century it is acceptable to ignore the international law in such a way, to ignore the international institutions and to rely only on the United States — and Micronesia.

Levy touched on a sore spot: what has happened to Jewish values?

I must be frank with you, I don’t know what are Jewish values. I know what are universal values. There are very clear universal values. And very very clear international law. International law is very important– except for Israel. Israel is a special case.

One answer might be: Zionism has trumped Judaism. The sad reality of  a secular colonial, nationalistic movement which  trampled the human rights of the indigenous population replaced the deep humanist values of prophetic Judaism.

Amos Gvirtz, Defender of the Bedouin

April 12, 2015

AMOS:Sheikn

Amos Gvirtz came to Toronto on April 7 to speak on behalf of the rights of the indigenous Bedouin Israelis in the Negev. “Being Bedouin in a Jewish state: dispossessing Palestinian- Israeli citizens inside Israel”

Growing up on a kibbutz north of Tel Aviv Gvirtz always heard the lame excuse of many Germans that they did not know what was transpiring in Nazi Germany. He has made it his mission to tell his fellow Israelis and indeed the world, what is happening to the most vulnerable citizens of Israel, the Bedouin, a people who are seeing their land stolen from under them.

These citizens have been in the Negev since Abraham was a baby (about 4,000 years) and they are now called “trespassers on State land” .Their travail is hidden from North Americans who are knee jerk supporters of Israel come what may but their treatment reflects just how low Zionism has sunk and why many North American Jews are getting off this failed movement whose policy is well expressed by historian Ilan Pappé as “incremental genocide.”

Amos is one of those great israeli Jews of Conscience who simply can not live with the largely hidden war on the real indigenous people of Palestine, the Bedouins.He has become one of their ardent defenders.

araqib

IDF destroying Al Araqib

We met him in Al Araqib in November, a Bedouin village which had been destroyed 77 times in four years. Amos became our translator for his good friend Sheikh Sayah Al-Turi. before the sheikh addressed us as per usual among Palestinians, no matter how poor they are, hospitality comes first. And so it was on this day. The Sheikh barely needed a translator as he laid out the outrageous treatment of these Israeli citizens.

Approximately every two or three weeks, soldiers arrive with bulldozers and raze their living quarters.  After each demolition, the families are forced to sleep in cars or on the ground until they can rebuild their makeshift dwellings with tarps. On October 14, 2014, the soldiers took away the women and children, confiscated the cars and arrested the Sheikh. On top of the destruction, the government is demanding 2,000,000 shekels to cover the costs of destruction. Now  that’s chutzpah.The Sheikh has a number of highly regarded lawyers working on behalf of the village and has had to sell off all of their animals to raise funds. He said that these demolitions are more dangerous than the occupation because they are destroying their culture and their history.

According to a report published by Dukium, the Negev Coexistence for Civil Equality “it is part of the government’s broader policy designed to compel Bedouin citizens to abdicate ownership over their ancestral lands and move to recently recognized villages or townships. Though over 70,000 people reside in unrecognized villages in Israel, the state denies their existence.” As further explained in the report, the villages are not indicated on governmental maps or road signs, and are deprived of public services – electricity, water, health, education and transportation infrastructure and services. Israel destroys about 1,000 of their homes each year to force them into two towns with the highest rates of unemployment and poverty in Israel.

And get this earlier this month on Wednesday April 8 policemen and Israeli soldiers escorted employees of the Israeli Civil Administration (the governing body of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank) to Khan al-Ahmar, a Bedouin village located a few kilometers from occupied East Jerusalem. There, they dismantled 11 solar panels, most of which had just been donated and installed by the Palestinian NGO Future for Palestine to give this village a few hours of electricity a day.

This staggers the imagination that the powerful state who always does what it wants to the weak and oppressed will go to these lengths to hound a poor community struggling to cope with the loss of grazing land for flocks. This is a shocking denial of the duties of the Occupying Power spelled out primarily in the 1907 Hague Regulations (arts 42-56) and the Fourth Geneva Convention (GC IV, art. 27-34 and 47-78).

A regular power source means they can have a fridge in which to store dairy products that can then be sold at market. Electricity also means they can run a laptop and have access to lawyers.

This is what you are dealing with in “the only democracy in the Middle East!

According to numerous analysts, local NGOs and UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Israel is looking to expel the last Palestinian residents of Khan al-Ahmar in order to connect the Israeli settlement Ma’ale Adumim to Jerusalem.

Israel destroys about 1,000 of their homes each year to force them into two towns with the highest rates of unemployment and poverty in Israel.

It is these poor communities that Amos Gvirtz defends.

Weekly Amos connects with  an international audience with his “Don’t Say We Did Not Know” information about unpublicized events affecting the Palestinian and Bedouin communities. Gvirtz’ new book (only in Hebrew now) of the same title examines the problems resulting from Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territory. Below are samples of his regular truth flares.
On Tuesday, February 17, 2015, Israeli army forces entered an area belonging to a Palestinian of the village of Tyassir near Tubas (northern West Bank) and uprooted 9 dunams of olive trees, claiming they had been planted in a nature reserve.
————— ————-
On Thursday, February 19, 2015, government agents escorted by police had a demolition day in Bedouin localities in the Negev. They destroyed a structure in Rahat and proceeded to demolish Al Arakib yet again.

Don’t say we didn’t know #444
On Thursday, 26th February, 2015, residents of the Palestinian village ‘Izbet Tabib (east of Qalqilia) together with some of their Israeli supporters demonstrated near the access road to their village, near Highway No. 55. They did not block the road. Suddenly soldiers arrived and without any warning started shooting tear gas grenades at the demonstrators.
—————– ——————–
On Sunday, 22nd February, 2015, government representatives escorted by police arrived at the Bedouin village Sa’wa, east of Hura, and demolished four homes.
On Thursday, 26th February, 2015, they arrived in the Bedouin village Tel ’Arad and demolished two structures.
On Wednesday, 18th March, 2015, representatives of the Civil Administration, with a military escort, came to lands belonging to Palestinians from Dahariyya, west of Yatta, and cut down five year old, or older, olive trees, claiming that it was state-owned land. The Palestinians claim ownership.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
On Sunday, 15th March, 2015, Government representatives accompanied by the police went to the Bedouin village Sawawin, near Segev Shalom, to demolish a sheepfold. On Thursday, 19th March, 2015, Government representatives demolished a home in Bir Hadaj, near Kibbutz Revivim. That same day, the Israeli government demolished a home between Bir El-Hammam and Khirbet El-Wattan, near Nevatim. They also demolished a structure in Rahat.

Deir Yassin will Not Go Away

April 11, 2015

Unknown

Deir Yassin will not go away. As FDR said about Pearl Harbour a day of infamy and a horrible blot on Zionism.April 9,1948 a small village of about 750 Arabs with no soldiers, almost opposite Yad Vashem,the holocaust museum. An irony for sure.

In November 2014 I visited Deir Yassin, now the Israeli village of Givat Shaul. A marvelous Israeli Arab named Umar Ighbariah a member of Zochrot led us through what remains of Deir Yassin.Z ochrot refuses to forget. See below. Ilan Pappé surely one of the great Jews of Conscience had to leave Israel because of his truth telling.His book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine is perhaps the greatest historical document of the Palestinian tragedy

Omar

How Israel was absolved of Deir Yassin and all other massacres
By Ilan Pappe
This week we commemorated the massacre of Deir Yassin.
On the anniversary’s eve, I went with a group of Palestinians, Israelis and visitors from abroad to a tour in the village organized by Zochrot, the Israeli group that continues relentlessly to remind Israelis of the crimes committed during the Nakba.

Last year such a visit ended with a violent attack by a local resident of Har Nof — the Jewish ultra-Orthodox neighborhood built on the village’s ruins — so two sulky policemen accompanied us to the site (mainly there to make sure we did not deviate from the path allocated to us). The very hot day probably deterred the usual suspects from a repeat of last year’s aggression.

Three buildings are still standing there: the school, now a yeshiva, and two houses. The rest is covered by ugly cubic buildings, forcing memory and imagination to work hard if you wish to reconstruct the beautiful village standing at the very top of the western slopes of the Jerusalem mountains.

It was one of the first targets of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine that began weeks before the village was attacked.

On 1 April 1948, the Zionist forces that had been given the instruction to cleanse dozens of Palestinian villages from the western side of Jerusalem received a large bundle of orders.

Among them was a directive from the intelligence service of the Hagana depicting every village as an enemy base and anyone above the age of ten as an able fighting male. The villages and the men and children in it were thus considered legitimate military targets to be destroyed and killed.
Dehumanization
In Deir Yassin, women and babies were also not spared. But the importance of the directives lies in the dehumanization of the Palestinians that was integrated into the orders dispatched to troops that in the next ten months or so would massacre thousands of Palestinians and expel almost a million of them (half of the country’s population), demolish their villages and destroy their towns.

This dehumanization also explains why the so-called non-aggression pact the villages signed with their Jewish neighbors and military command in Jerusalem was sinisterly brushed aside once the order to cleanse the region was given to the troops on the ground.

Jews are not different from any other people on this planet. Almost every group of people can be indoctrinated to dehumanize another group of people.
This is how normal Germans were recruited into the death machine of the Nazis, Africans into the genocide in Rwanda and farmers to the killing fields of Cambodia. Even people who claimed to be victims of such dehumanization, as were the Zionist troops of 1948, very keenly engaged in the business of killing babies, as well as old men, in Palestine.

This dehumanization appears now daily
in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen.

Journey of destruction
The world is divided roughly into three responses to the present-day dehumanization. The first is characterized by cynical manipulation of the tragedy by political and economic elites in the West, China and India. There you can find arms traders, financial mavericks and cold-blooded politicians calculating daily how this is going to empower them politically or financially.

The second approach is indifference exercised by the majority of people who could not care less one way or another.

The third approach is genuine human concern and solidarity shown by the conscientious sections of society who wish to do something and get involved.
For all these groups, it is important to stress the link between what happened this week 67 years ago in the village of Deir Yassin and the present day barbarism.

The massacre of Deir Yassin, by no means the worst or the last in the history of Palestine, symbolized what was so unique about the Palestinian plight. Immediately after it occurred, the people who initiated it (the Zionist leadership) blamed their extreme wing for doing it and apologized.

At the same time, they published as widely as possible the news in order to frighten those living at the next locations in their journey of expulsion and destruction. They were about to assault the cities of Palestine and they hoped that the massacre would cause people to flee. It did not work that well; they had to massacre and expel by force the people of the towns throughout the month of April 1948.

Absolving Israel
But the propaganda about the massacre bore success elsewhere. The new state, Israel, was absolved from this and similar massacres — in fact, it has been let off from all the crimes it committed in 1948 and ever since. The immunity granted in April 1948 remains today.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, a different kind of exceptionalism was exercised. Pro-American regimes, unless they went wild, could abuse human and civil rights, while those who were not on the right sight were condemned as rogue states.

Those which had other assets coveted by the US were punished more severely. But even those with an exceptional status in the eyes of Washington were not received as members in the community of civilized nations in the way Israel has been. The exceptionalism there is unique.

It is this exceptionalism that prevents good people in the West to participate in any significant way in the urgent conversation about human and civil rights in the rest of the Middle East.

Everyone should take part in this conversation about barbaric acts committed against the innocent. But everyone who commits such acts should also be targeted in this conversation.

The criminals who have attacked Gaza, the Yarmouk refugee camp, the Yazidi villages in the north of Iraq and the bombardiers of Aleppo and operators of drones in Pakistan should not be exonerated in any way; they should all be brought before the International Criminal Court, or similar tribunals.

Justice should be demanded for all their victims.

When this will happen we could come back to Deir Yassin, knowing that some sort of justice was served to people who have been victims of crimes not yet acknowledged, let alone punished.