Archive for January 2018

Are you real, Israel?

January 30, 2018

No borders, no constitution, no nationality, no democracy

Jonathan Ofir is an Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.

And I have to ask you, Israel: are you for real? I mean, I know you’re considered a state, but are you real? Even the anagram of your name suggests you are – ‘IS-REAL’ – but really? My jaw is dropping. Despite all that I’ve read and seen before, I still can’t believe it. It’s so surreal.


On the one hand I think you’re somehow real, but on the other hand a lot suggests you’re not. I mean, you have no fully delineated borders. They are just fluid and temporary – they are “wherever the IDF reaches” as Ben Gurion once said. You don’t have a constitution, but OK, some other democracies lack one. Then when you attempt to write one in gradually, through ‘basic laws’, some of these are in flagrant violation of international law. Like the one on Jerusalem, claiming it to be the ‘united capital’.
Then you say you’re a democracy – but a Jewish democracy. That actually ends up meaning that you’re a democracy for Jews – and that’s not a democracy, sorry. Then it turns out there are no actually Israeli nationals – because there’s no Israeli nationality. Israeli nationals don’t exist – only Jewish nationals who are the only ones who enjoy national rights in Israel. For real?

Yes, this is the “Jewish state”. I’m rubbing my eyes and I can’t believe it. Maybe I’m still waking up from all those Zionist dreams I was indoctrinated with. “If you will it, it is no dream”, said Herzl.


But you know what, it is a dream. You think that construct can be a real democratic state? That you can keep this barbarism, this murderous Apartheid going in the name of ‘democracy’, ‘enlightenment’ and ‘liberty’? The horrors mentioned above are not just aberrations. They are logical consequences of nationalist madness. These people are leaders. It has been going on since the start, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. This is just awful. Let’s wake up. We can stop this.  And if we can’t, someone’s got to.




No Way to treat a Child

January 29, 2018

image 2

Israel is the only county where military law is used systemically to detain and prosecute children. The No Way to Treat a Child-Canada campaign seeks to challenge and end Israel’s prolonged military occupation of Palestinians by organizing and supporting an extensive network of People demanding immediate protections for children held in Israel military detention where ill-treatment and torture is widespread, systemic and institutionalized.Israel military detention is #nowaytotreatachild.


Ahed Tamimi was arrested in the middle of the night on December 19, 2017. A few days before that, during a protest of Donald Trump’s declaration on Jerusalem, she stood up to soldiers trying to invade her home. For this Israel intends to make an example of her.




Having lived her entire life under occupation, and having spent the past month in military detention Ahed’s childhood has already been stolen from her. Now she is facing up to 10 years in prison.


On the eve of Ahed’s 17th birthday and beginning of her military court trial, join us to demand her release, to support the No Way to Treat A Child call in Canada.


Around the world groups join to demand for the release of Ahed and the torture and denial of rights of Palestine’s children.


At 12 noon Tuesday Jan 30, 2018 people are invited to gather in front of Minister Freeland’s office at Bloor and Spadina (just west of of Spadina on north side to celebrate Ahed Tamimi ‘s birthday and to demand that the Canadian government put pressure on Israel to stop the imprisoning of Palestinian children,

In Toronto, we join with others in Canada and around the world for this INTERNATIONAL ACTION to demand for the release of Ahed; and for the end of torture and denial of rights of Palestine’s children by the Israeli military. To join in supporting the No Way to Treat a Child campaign.

For information on No Way to Treat a Child Canada campaign:


To learn about Israeli’s use of military law see:


Bill Maher: Uninformed Zionist

January 28, 2018

Michelle Goldberg is a feisty New York Times columnist who has written for several outlets. I first became aware of her with the 2006 book Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, a primer on know-nothing theological nonsense.


Well, Bill Maher whose show Real Time runs on HBO Friday nights got a taste of his own opinionated rants On January 26.when Goldberg put him in his place over Trumps’s defence of Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol—but not Palestine’s. Before Israel stole the land in 1948 jews made up but one-third of the piopulation up from one-twentieth in 1900. Palestine had been a largely Muslim enclave for 1300 years before Russian Jews colonized it, then ethnically cleansed it. Maher seems totally ignorant of these historical facts such has been the power of Israeli hasbara and US complicity.


Now if you watch maher he is a bright comedian on the edge but badly informed on both religion and Israel. His film Religilous was panned as taking down a straw man, basically a far right, fundamentalist variant of Christianity. As for  Israel, he is simply ignorant and Goldberg with her Jewish background let him have it, showing Maher’s ignorance of international law, Israel’s history and palestinian oppression.
Maher: “They’ve won all the wars thrown against them. I don’t understand why they don’t get to have their capital where they want.”
Goldberg: “When you win a war you don’t get to take the other side’s land.”

Maher: “Actually you do.”

(I guess Germany should not have given Poland back)

Maher displayed his abysmal ignorance by equating the 5th largest army,backed by nuclear weapons with the rag tag palestinian militia, “a coiled snake.”

Then he made another gaffe: “Israel gave back Gaza.” Again a lie. Israel totally controls Gaza from air, land and sea.



Goldberg told Maher to wake up


“Come on. You should go and see what’s happening in the West Bank. If you look at the settlements, if you look at the facts on the ground. The fact that you have instead of a contiguous land mass you increasingly have these little cantons. And if you look at the way that Palestinians — most Palestinians alive today were not born during any of these wars and so the idea that their lives should be blighted because of them. Look at what Americans have to do when they go through a TSA checkpoint. They completely lose their shit. And if you imagine doing that for two hours every single day …”




Then she finished with this zinger: You’re a rich person, you should go see what life in the West Bank is like. Go to Hebron. Like, no, go see it.


Don’t expect Goldberg to be invited back on Real Time any week soon.





Zionism is not Judaism at McGill

January 26, 2018

Many brave rabbis of mid 40s fought against Judaism’s deformation into a Zionist civic religion. They saw with great clarity what happens when a great religion substitutes blood and soil for Torah and ethics. Rabbis like Morris Lazaron and Irving Reichert were appalled by Jewish nationalism as a pale substitute for covenantal Torah ethics


Lazaron, wrote “We must cry out the universal message of Israel. Not the blood cult, state cult, hate cult, war cult of nationalism, but one humanity on earth as there is one God in heaven.”




Reichert the brilliant San Franisco rabbi (d.1968) railed in a memorable 1952 talk that “Nationalism is no substitute for Judaism. Racism is a boorish impostor. Jewish culture is no substitute for Judaism. It has attempted to counterfeit the currency of Judaism and so many Jewish eyes, tear dimmed by tragedy, have not detected the fraud that this bogus specie has gained wide circulation. Jewish culture is no substitute for Judaism. Emptied of religious content, it is either aphrase or a fetish, dependent on kitchen recipes, musicians, painters, and story tellers, but not on God.”



Meanwhile in a largely unnoticed article( in the Mcgill student paper, Nov.6.2017) an extraordinary young 20 year old McGill student Tali Iolesevich launched an impressive broadside against censorship and political cowardice (Justin Trudeau,a McGill alumnus who rejects BDS)


I’m Jewish, and I voted against ratifying Noah Lew
Here’s why I decided to take a stand



I was born in Israel. Both my father and my mother come from long line of Ashkenazi Jews. When I was four years old, my mother brought me here to Canada. Being transposed from one settler colonial state to another shaped much of my identity and later, my activism. The recent tensions on campus surrounding Noah Lew’s failure to be ratified onto the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Board of Directors (BoD), and the allegations of anti-Semitism against Democratize SSMU and pro-Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) groups, have compelled me to set the record straight: I am sick and tired of people equating Jewishness with Zionism. As a white Jewish student who is vehemently anti-Zionist, it is absolutely vital for me to explain why I support Democratize SSMU and BDS, why I opposed the SSMU ruling concerning BDS, and how it’s not only possible, but necessary, to have a whole Jewish identity that’s separate from Zionism.


Yiddishkeit not Judaism

I would first like to acknowledge that I speak solely from my experience coming from Soviet Ashkenazi Jewish heritage, and I do not represent the vast and varied experiences of Sephardic, Mizrahi and other Jewries, which I encourage you to seek out and listen to. In what then is my Jewish identity rooted? It definitely does not come from my practice of Judaism, whose teachings have long been abandoned by my single mother and whose last shred of influence over my life was extinguished in the secular suburbia in which I grew up. I don’t speak Yiddish, and despite learning Hebrew in elementary school, I’ve lost all traces of it. This begs the question: if not religion, if not language, then what? Is my Jewish identity found in the shakshouka my mother taught me how to make, or in the matzo ball soup I eat once a year? Is it nested in the intricate braids of the Challah bread I once baked? Is that where it hides?


Judaism not a piece of land inthe Middle East
The simple answer, the same one propagated ceaselessly by the Israeli state, is that my identity is somehow irrevocably bound to the land I was born in. I am meant to believe that the center and core of my existence as a Jew is tied to a strip of land an ocean away that can be crossed by car from tip to tail in less than six hours. A land that has been grabbed by force and violently occupied by white settlers since even before the night of the Nakba in 1948, and has since been defined by increasing military expansionism, state-sanctioned brutality, and discrimination against its non-Jewish citizens. A land whose government has built a literal wall to separate those it deems to be second-class and has refused to provide the most basic of services to these people, and whose fertile soils and trees have been razed to the ground by the military to deny Palestinians any means of securing their livelihoods. And what a fitting image that is, an uprooted olive tree to symbolize Israel’s violence.
Non-religious Jewish identity
“Zionism and antisemitism – two sides of the same coin, both maintaining that Jews do not belong in the countries where they’ve lived over the centuries”, writes Leon Rosselson, a British poet and singer-songwriter as well as a prominent anti-Zionist activist. To claim that Jews must relocate to Israel to be considered whole is to deny the range of Jewish experiences across the world that cannot be collapsed into one tangible identity. Jews from New York, Argentina, Ethiopia, Germany, and Russia all have different histories to tell which have been undeniably shaped by anti-Jewish oppression, and which Israel attempts to reduce to a single, hegemonic narrative.
My Jewish identity need not be confined to ethno-nationalism to be considered valid. Instead, in Isaac Babel’s own words, “I am a Jew because of my unconditional solidarity with the persecuted and the exterminated.” I identify with the legacy of radical Jews who’ve seen the injustices of the world, and labored tirelessly to correct them. It is precisely because Jews are so intimately familiar with violence and persecution that we must fight against them in all their forms, especially when they are being perpetrated by a government that claims to act in our name. Judaism is the only religion I know of in which you’re encouraged to argue with your God and community leaders. And while I am non-practicing, this sentiment appeals to me. The freedom to question the legitimacy of higher authorities, spiritual or not, is the hallmark of a just society.

Real Jews
It has become increasingly clear that this is not the type of freedom afforded at my university campus. In the aftermath of the General Assembly (GA) on October 23, the proverbial shit hit the fan. In what was misconstrued as an act of anti-Semitism, Noah Lew was not ratified to the BoD. Later in the GA, SSMU President Muna Tojiboeva alleged that Democratize SSMU and others were motivated by anti-Jewish sentiment when voting down Lew. At best, those involved conflate what it means to be Jewish with what it means to be a Zionist, essentially stating that one cannot exist without the other. At worst, they fall into anti-Semitic tropes that further alienate either side.


anti Z
Allegations of anti-Semitism must be taken seriously, and I extend my solidarity to every Jewish-identifying person, both on campus and off, who has experienced this form of discrimination. However, it must be made explicitly clear that when Jewish and non-Jewish students criticize the Israeli state, or call someone out for being affiliated with Zionist organizations, it is not inherently an anti-Semitic act. To state otherwise-as the McGill administration and Tojiboeva have done-is to adopt a reductionist view that silences our very democratic call for justice.
Note: Iolesevich rejected Noah Lew’s crying anti-Semitism which only reinforces the conflation between Jewishness and Zionism, and erases anti- and non-Zionist Jewish voices. We exist, and our voices must be heard.


If Americans Knew

January 24, 2018

Maybe the bravest act under capitalism is to rise from your comfortable slumber.

The very brave If Americans Knew a website you can trust and be educated by Alison Weir has never stopped truth-telling to the American public about the unconscionable funding of the apartheid state.Since it is an internet site this is a global resource for the ongoing struggle for Palestinian justice.

A few of the Christian churches (Quakers, Presbyterians etc) have donned the prophetic mantle but the somnolent Catholic church led by timorous company men bishops
in the USA and Canada  has remained silent.The catholic people have remained in the darkness and well meaning priests still lead pilgrims to Israel while bypassing the living face of Christ in the humiliated Palestinians.

In a blog piece L Hunter scopes out the change we see happening

Having said that the tide is clearly changing in favour of the Palestinians. BDS, Linda Sarsour and the women’s movement, Black Lives Matter, religious organizations like the Quakers and Presbyterians, the Green Party,  Young Turks/Jimmy Dore/Mondo/JVP/Dem Now and many other people and groups are getting behind the cause. There’s much work to be done but thankfully more and more people are stepping up.

Soon the 50+ generation will perish and with it their steadfast support for Israel. The generations behind them are more discerning and will see Zionism for what it really is.

The kingdom gospel

January 22, 2018

Christ first proclaims a kingdom, the kingdom of God and this is so important, by comparison everything else becomes ‘the rest’, which is ‘given in addition’. Only the kingdom is absolute.,and it makes everything else relative…


Evangelium Nuntiandi ( On Proclaiming the Good News, Dec.8,1975, Pope Paul Vl)


I might add to this important statement, this includes the Pope, sacraments, the Bible, priesthood and even the Church. Only God’s reign of peace and justice is ultimate.


All New Testament scholars tell us that the kingdom (“malkuth Yahweh”) is the central proclamation of Jesus.
So Sunday’s gospel: “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Mark 1:15


Jesus is murdered for the reign of God, the transformation of empires into realms of peace and justice. Nobody gets crucified for “internal changes.”
Palestine was a backward province of Rome ruled over by henchmen like Pilate and Herod. He is a threat to Roman imperial theology which claims the Augustan emperors were divine sons of God, “divus”, liberators and redeemers of the world. The Pax Romana was a lie built on slavery, theft and oppression

This Jewish peasant Yeshua ben Miriam (Jesus) must be stopped. His vision is radically countercultural. His fate, crucifixion, is that of political prisoners who reject the Pax.
Jesus proclaims a holy way, the malkuth yahweh, the way of nonviolence, peace and justice.
Reza Aslan in his readable book Zealot describes Jesus the Palestinian Jew living under occupation


“There are only two hard historical facts about Jesus of Nazareth upon which we can confidently rely: the first is that Jesus was a Jew who led a popular Jewish movement in Palestine at the beginning of the first century CE; the second is that Rome crucified him for doing so…The Jesus that emerges from this historical exercise—a zealous revolutionary swept up, as all Jews of the era were, in the religious and political turmoil of first-century Palestine—bears little resemblance to the image of the gentle shepherd cultivated by the early Christian community. Consider this: Crucifixion was a punishment that Rome reserved almost exclusively for the crime of sedition…Jesus’ crime, in the eyes of Rome, was striving for kingly rule (treason), the same crime for which nearly every other messianic aspirant of the time was killed.”


Mark Lilla in his brilliant attack on identity politics (The Once and Future Liberal) writes that prophetic religion, the kind that would get you crucified, criticized, marginalized basically died under “the Reagan Dispensation” which a majority of Catholics bought into.


As the post WWll economy exploded, the Roosevelt Dispensation faded with its two grand themes of American liberalism, justice and solidarity. Both are gospel imperatives. Moving out of the city to suburbia, people drifted away from face to face urban communities and joined evangelical communities long on individualism but short on solidarity and social commitment. As Lilla says more “got saved but alone.”


For Vatican ll Catholics there was a similar migration away from peace and justice. In tis culture we breathe the same hypercapitalist air as all others. Parishes became at best comfy zones, long on charity but very short on justice—that might get you crucified. So in Bonhoeffer’s prophetic words:


The price we are having to pay today in the shape of the collapse of the organized church is only the inevitable consequence of our policy of making grace available to all at too low a cost. We gave away the word and sacraments wholesale, we baptized, confirmed, and absolved a whole nation unasked and without  condition…we poured forth unending streams of grace but the call to follow Jesus in the narrow way was hardly ever heard.




The Vatican ll priests left only to be replaced by “the young fogeys”, the JP ll brigade of ultraconservative prelates who Karl Rahner brilliantly dissected in 1971:




“If we talk of the ‘little flock’ in order to defend our cosy traditionalism and stale pseudo-orthodoxy, in fear of the mentality of modern society; if we tacitly consent to the departure of restless, questioning people from the church so that we can return to our repose and orderly life, and everything becomes as it was before, we are propagating, not the attitude proper to Christ’s little flock, but a petty sectarian mentality. This is dangerous because it shows up, not under its true name but in an appeal to orthodoxy, church-loyalty and strict, Rome-dictated morality.”


Today a new pope has arrived offering the same prescription of the great John XXll, “the medicine of mercy” and the liberating and challenge of the great Council—the kingdom summons or as Gaudium et Spes 1965 reminded us “He taught us that we too much shoulder that cross which the world and the flesh inflict on those who who search after peace and justice.”



Peace with Christ means conflict with the world…The kingdom costs. No cross, no crown. No Good Friday, no Easter.


S-hole country: closer to home

January 19, 2018

The prophetic voice of Chris Hedges once  again. This brilliant journalist, also an ordained Presbyterian minister, once again reminds Americans of their awful history in “the American lake” of Central America.


The Monroe Doctrine (1823) warned other powers to stay out of the southern Americas. they belong to the USA



A poster depicting the 1930s revolutionary and namesake of the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front (FMLN), which was one of the main participants in the El Salvador war of the 1980s and ’90s.
I covered the war in El Salvador for five years. It was a peasant uprising by the dispossessed against the 14 ruling families and the handful of American corporations that ran El Salvador as if it was a plantation. Half of the population was landless. Laborers worked as serfs in the coffee plantations, the sugar cane fields and the cotton fields in appalling poverty. Attempts to organize and protest peacefully to combat the huge social inequality were met with violence, including fire from machine guns mounted on the tops of buildings in downtown San Salvador that rained down bullets indiscriminately on crowds of demonstrators. Peasant, labor, church and university leaders were kidnapped by death squads, brutally tortured and murdered, their mutilated bodies often left on roadsides for public view. When I arrived, the death squads were killing between 700 and 1,000 people a month.


An insurgent army arose, the Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front (known by the Spanish-language abbreviation FMLN), named for the leader of a peasant uprising in 1932 that was crushed through the slaughter of thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, many of them killed in summary executions. The FMLN seized huge parts of the country from the corrupt and demoralized military. In the fall of 1983, the rebels, supplied with weapons from the Sandinista government in Nicaragua, were on the verge of capturing the country’s second largest city. I did not, at first, travel with the army. It was too dangerous. It was far safer to go into combat with the FMLN. Without outside intervention, the rebels would have seized control of El Salvador within months and ousted the oligarchs.


But, far to the north, was a shithole country ruled by a former B-list movie actor who had starred in “Bedtime for Bonzo” and who was in the early stages of dementia. This shithole country, which saw the world in black and white, communist and capitalist, was determined to thwart the aspirations of the poor and the landless. It would not permit the profits of its companies, such as United Fruit, or the power of the pliant oligarch class that did its bidding in El Salvador, to be impeded. It had disdain for the aspirations of the poor, especially the poor of Latin American or Africa, the wretched of the earth, as writer Frantz Fanon called them, people who in the eyes of those who ruled the shithole country should toil in misery all their lives for the oligarchs and the big American companies allied with them. Let the poor, brown and black people go hungry, watch their children die of sickness or be murdered. Power and wealth, those who ruled this shithole country believed, was theirs by divine right. They, as the lords of shithole-dom, were endowed with special attributes. God blessed shithole countries.

The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda understood how those who ruled the shithole country looked at the wretched of the earth. He wrote:

When the trumpet sounded, it was
all prepared on the earth,
the Jehovah parceled out the earth
to Coca Cola, Inc., Anaconda,
Ford Motors, and other entities:
The Fruit Company, Inc.
reserved for itself the most succulent,
the central coast of my land,
the delicate waist of America.

It rechristened its territories
as the ‘Banana Republics’
and over the sleeping dead,
over the restless heroes,
who brought about the greatness, the liberty and the flags,
it established the comic opera:
Abolished independencies,
presented crowns of Caesar,
unsheathed envy, attracted
the dictatorship of flies. …

The dictatorship of flies had its downside. It elevated the imbecilic and the inept, men whose main attributes were brutality, mendacity and thievery. They were uniformly unpleasant creatures. Anastasio “Tachito” Somoza in Nicaragua. The Duvaliers in Haiti. Augusto Pinochet in Chile. Efraín Ríos Montt in Guatemala. These flies did the bidding of the shithole country. They would murder their own people without compunction and, for hefty bribes, would allow the corporations to exploit and pillage.


Yes, they had their eccentricities. The depraved often do. Gen. Maximiliano Hernández Martínez, who came to power in a military coup, led the government in El Salvador that carried out the 1932 massacres known as La Matanza. The general, a recluse who rarely appeared in public, was a believer in the occult and held séances in the presidential residence. He was one of the models for Gabriel García Márquez’s portrait of a Latin American tyrant in “The Autumn of the Patriarch.” Martínez styled himself after the Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. He barred all immigration by Arabs, Hindus, Chinese and blacks. He once announced: “It is good that children go barefoot. That way they can better receive the beneficial effluvia of the planet, the vibrations of the earth. Plants and animals don’t use shoes.” And he said it was a greater crime to kill an ant than a human being “because a man who dies is reincarnated while an ant dies forever.” His solution to a measles epidemic was to order the streetlights wrapped in cellophane to purify the air. He believed that colored water could cure most illnesses.



How surprised the leaders of the shithole country would be if they knew about the poets, the writers and the artists, the intellectuals and the men and women of great moral probity, such as the Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, who in 1980 was assassinated with a bullet shipped down to the killers from the shithole country. The leaders of the shithole country do not see the people of Latin America or Africa as fully human. But then they are not great readers, especially of poetry by the lesser breeds of the earth. They have not heard the truth of the Salvadoran poet Roque Dalton, who wrote:

Take care, you’re worth your weight in gold.
Because in capitalism only the owners
of gold are worth their weight in gold.


The shithole country poured $1 million a day in aid and weapons into the land. They sent down their most ruthless killers, including Félix Rodríguez, the CIA agent and Bay of Pigs veteran who had overseen the hunt for Che Guevara in Bolivia, presided over his execution and proudly wore the wristwatch he had taken from the martyred revolutionary’s body. At night you could see the killers sent to El Salvador by the shithole country, usually with their Vietnamese wives, sitting around the pool at the Sheraton Hotel. They had perfected the dark arts of infiltrating, torturing, interrogating, disappearing and murdering through practice on the people of Vietnam during the war there. They could teach you how to strangle someone with piano wire so there would be no noise as the victim choked to death. They brought many such skills with them to Central America. They directed the death squads to wipe out the resistance leaders, priests and nuns working in poor communities, teachers, journalists, labor organizers, student leaders, professors and intellectuals who denounced the barbarity.




They trained and equipped new soldiers for the oligarchs. They formed mercenary units with hundreds of soldiers recruited from countries such as Honduras, Venezuela and Chile. They called these military units, which were secret, Unilaterally Controlled Latino Assets. They sent them to fight the FMLN because the Salvadoran military was so unreliable. They provided fleets of helicopters to hunt the insurgents by air. It was an orgy of militarism. By the time the shithole country was done, it had spent $4 billion to crush the uprising. And while it was orchestrating the bloodbath in El Salvador it provided $1 billion to the thugs and killers known as the Contras in Nicaragua, where 50,000 people were murdered. It also quietly assisted the killers of Guatemala, where 200,000 were slain. The poor peasants did not stand a chance. Mass graves dotted the Central American isthmus, a testament to their work.

Dalton wrote:

The dead are more insolent than ever.

It used to be easy:
we gave them a starched collar a flower
we placed their names on an honor roll:
the length and breath of our land
the illustrious shades of yesteryear
the monstrous statue.

The cadaver signed on memory’s dotted line
joined the rank and file once more
and marched to the beat of our worn out music

But what are you gonna do
the dead
just ain’t what they used to be.

These days they get ironic
ask questions.

Seems to me they’re starting to figure out
that they are the majority.

The leaders of the shithole country would oversee the murder of 80,000 people and 8,000 disappeared in El Salvador. Intelligence officials from the shithole country were, it appears, complicit in the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Romero, organized by a former Salvadoran army officer named Roberto D’Aubuisson—known affectionately as “Blowtorch Bob”—who was one of the shithole country’s favorite killers. The shithole country protected those who ordered the murder and rape of four American churchwomen in December 1980. They protected the officers of the Atlacatl Brigade—which in 1981 had massacred more than 700 civilians in El Mozote—when in 1989 they gunned down six Spanish Jesuit priests, one of whom was the rector of the University of Central America, plus their housekeeper and her teenage daughter, on the university campus. The Salvadoran officers who oversaw these massacres, and countless others, had been selected and trained in the shithole country’s U.S. Army School of the Americas. The war would destroy much of the infrastructure. El Salvador never recovered. It is awash in weapons. It experiences a murder every one and a half hours. Let the blood flow, the leaders of the shithole country said. The blood of brown and black people does not matter.




A shithole country depends on your perspective.


Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, New York Times best selling author, former professor at Princeton University, activist and ordained Presbyterian minister. He has written 11 books,…


Russian Israelis: bad news

January 18, 2018

The intrepid researcher Norman Finkelstein sent out a letter he received from a Russian Israeli named Helen who happened to hear Finkelstein on Democracy Now.




This is a fascinating analysis one which former president Bill Clinton in a rare moment of candour alluded to—in January of 2010 when he was safely out of office.


Clinton like Finkelstein’s Russian correspondent pointed out that Russian immigrant population in Israel is an obstacle to peace with Palestinians.


“An increasing number of the young people in the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] are the children of Russians and settlers, the hardest-core people against a division of the land. This presents a staggering problem,” Clinton told a roundtable with press in New York. “It’s a different Israel. Sixteen percent of Israelis speak Russian.”

Here is Helen


You are a very good Jewish man, one of our best, one of the wisest. We value wisdom very much, it’s in our DNA! (The high regard for wisdom, that is). It is so impossibly hard for us to be good people now. And weeping seems to be the only possible action. Maybe putting ashes on your head is another option— it’s an old Jewish tradition. They are turning Palestine into the Warsaw Ghetto! Maybe it is in our DNA too? But I have another explanation.

You said today to Amy that Israel’s moral character begin to change since the 70s. This was the time when hundreds of thousands of Jews from the Soviet Union arrived there. And along with some of them, a long arm of Stalin extended all the way from his grave across the continents and planted hatred, immense intolerance, racism, and supremacy. Some young intellectuals came from Moscow and planted the extreme right-wing politics (they had had the seeds), and the greed, of the people who had been denied so much. Because when we were growing up in Worker’s Paradise, this was what we were indoctrinated with, all of the above. We got it with our mother’s milk. We were being taught that Individual Life has no meaning. No value, apart from being sacrificed for a worthy cost. What do you think this does to children? Only the “happiness” of the “future generations” matter.


I don’t think of Israelis as Jews; they are just a regular settled tribe. Jews are a People without a land and without a temple. We hate persecution. We have invented the concept of Justice. You know what shrinks say: traumatized people have a powerful drive to recreate their traumas. And so they do. They are orchestrating the Warsaw Ghetto carnage in Palestine. With the help of some other sociopaths, the ones with power and money.


Let’s get maladjusted on MLK Day

January 15, 2018



Today is Martin Luther King’s birthday, a national holiday celebrated on the third Monday in January. This is a part of a speech King gave in London, December 7, 1964, just days before he received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.


I have added the appropriate gospel quote from the first evangelist, Mark:

When his family[a heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”
Mark 3:21


You know, there are certain words in every academic discipline that soon become stereotypes and clichés. Every academic discipline has its technical vocabulary. Modern psychology has a word that is probably used more than any other word in modern psychology. It is the word “maladjusted.” You’ve heard that word. This is the ringing cry of modern child psychology. And certainly we all want to live well-adjusted lives in order to avoid neurotic and schizophrenic personalities.




But I must say to you this evening, my friends, as I come to a close, that there are some things in my own nation, and there are some things in the world, to which I am proud to be maladjusted and to which I call upon all men of goodwill to be maladjusted until the good society is realized. I must honestly say to you that I never intend to become adjusted to segregation, discrimination, colonialism and these particular forces. I must honestly say to you that I never intend to adjust myself to religious bigotry. I must honestly say to you that I never intend to adjust myself to economic conditions that will take necessities from the many to give luxuries to the few.


I must say to you tonight that I never intend to become adjusted to the madness of militarism and the self-defeating effects of physical violence, for in a day when Sputniks and explorers are dashing through outer space and guided ballistic missiles are carving highways of death through the stratosphere, no nation can win a war. It is no longer the choice between violence and nonviolence; it is either nonviolence or non-existence. And the alternative to disarmament, the alternative to a greater suspension of nuclear tests, the alternative to strengthening the United Nations and thereby disarming the whole world, may well be a civilization plunged into the abyss of annihilation. And I assure you that I will never adjust to the madness of militarism.



Tamini drives Israelis wild

January 12, 2018

Jonathan Cook writes about Israel’s blood boil over the global response to 16 year old Ahed Tamini.

Producing a Gandhi? Israel makes sure any nonviolent protester is booted out of the country before any traction is gained.It is also surprising that Cook never mentioned that Tamini had just got word that her 15 year old cousin  had just got a rubber bullet in his head by some brave IDF soldier.


Sixteen-year-old Ahed Tamimi may not be what Israelis had in mind when, over many years, they criticised Palestinians for not producing a Mahatma Gandhi or Nelson Mandela.
Eventually, colonised peoples bring to the fore a figure best suited to challenge the rotten values at the core of the society oppressing them. Ahed is well qualified for the task.
She was charged last week with assault and incitement after she slapped two heavily armed Israeli soldiers as they refused to leave the courtyard of her family home in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, near Ramallah. Her mother, Nariman, is in detention for filming the incident. The video quickly went viral.



Western commentators have largely denied Ahed the kind of effusive support offered to democracy protesters in places such as China and Iran. Nevertheless, this Palestinian schoolgirl – possibly facing a long jail term for defying her oppressors – has quickly become a social media icon.

While Ahed might have been previously unknown to most Israelis, she is a familiar face to Palestinians and campaigners around the world.
For years, she and other villagers have held a weekly confrontation with the Israeli army as it enforces the rule of Jewish settlers over Nabi Saleh. These settlers have forcibly taken over the village’s lands and ancient spring, a vital water source for a community that depends on farming.
Distinctive for her irrepressible blonde hair and piercing blue eyes, Ahed has been filmed regularly since she was a small girl confronting soldiers who tower above her. Such scenes inspired one veteran Israeli peace activist to anoint her Palestine’s Joan of Arc.
But few Israelis are so enamoured.
Not only does she defy Israeli stereotypes of a Palestinian, she has struck a blow against the self-deception of a highly militarised and masculine culture.
She has also given troubling form to the until-now anonymised Palestinian children Israel accuses of stone-throwing.
Palestinian villages like Nabi Saleh are regularly invaded by soldiers. Children are dragged from their beds in the middle of the night, as happened to Ahed during her arrest last month in retaliation for her slaps. Human rights groups document how children are routinely beaten and tortured in detention.

Many hundreds pass through Israeli jails each year charged with throwing stones. With conviction rates in Israeli military courts of more than 99 per cent, the guilt and incarceration of such children is a foregone conclusion.
They may be the lucky ones. Over the past 16 years, Israel’s army has killed on average 11 children a month.
The video of Ahed, screened repeatedly on Israeli TV, has threatened to upturn Israel’s self-image as David fighting an Arab Goliath. This explains the toxic outrage and indignation that has gripped Israel since the video aired.

Predictably, Israeli politicians were incensed. Naftali Bennett, the education minister, called for Ahed to “end her life in jail”. Culture minister Miri Regev, a former army spokeswoman, said she felt personally “humiliated” and “crushed” by Ahed.
But more troubling is a media debate that has characterised the soldiers’ failure to beat Ahed in response to her slaps as a “national shame”.

The venerable television host Yaron London expressed astonishment that the soldiers “refrained from using their weapons” against her, wondering whether they “hesitated out of cowardice”.
But far more sinister were the threats from Ben Caspit, a leading Israeli analyst. In a column in Hebrew, he said Ahed’s actions made “every Israeli’s blood boil”. He proposed subjecting her to retribution “in the dark, without witnesses and cameras”, adding that his own form of revenge would lead to his certain detention.
That fantasy – of cold-bloodedly violating an incarcerated child – should have sickened every Israeli. And yet Caspit is still safely ensconced in his job.
But aside from exposing the sickness of a society addicted to dehumanising and oppressing Palestinians, including children, Ahed’s case raises the troubling question of what kind of resistance Israelis think Palestinians are permitted.
International law, at least, is clear. The United Nations has stated that people under occupation are allowed to use “all available means”, including armed struggle, to liberate themselves.
But Ahed, the villagers of Nabi Saleh and many Palestinians like them have preferred to adopt a different strategy – a confrontational, militant civil disobedience. Their resistance defies the occupier’s assumption that it is entitled to lord it over Palestinians.
Their approach contrasts strongly with the constant compromises and so-called “security cooperation” accepted by the Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas.
According to Israeli commentator Gideon Levy, Ahed’s case demonstrates that Israelis deny Palestinians the right not only to use rockets, guns, knives or stones, but even to what he mockingly terms an “uprising of slappings”.
Ahed and Nabi Saleh have shown that popular unarmed resistance – if it is to discomfort Israel and the world – cannot afford to be passive or polite. It must be fearless, antagonistic and disruptive.


Most of all, it must hold up a mirror to the oppressor. Ahed has exposed the gun-wielding bully lurking in the soul of too many Israelis. That is a lesson worthy of Gandhi or Mandela.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His books include “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is