Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

“Go to Hamas”

May 28, 2016

Poor Miriam, such a decent person. She came to Israel full of hope, did everything right then she watched the whole thing unravel. Bigoted Arab haters took over her government, men who  were racist and had lost the deep respect for humanity at the heart of Judaism. Imagine living in a country when a vicious brute like Ariel Sharon ould become your Prime Minister, then now living under Benjamin Netanyahu. She scans the landscape and cringes as her hoped-for democratic country continues its oppression of Palestinian people.

What’s a good woman to do? “Go to Hamas or Gaza” because she is apprently an Arab lover. No she is a good woman  who grants dignity to all people. She is heartsick. She writes her cri de coeur to that fine newspaper, Haaretz.Intelligent people read this paper so Miriam writes to it. Now unknown to North americans there is A rag called Israel Hayom, a free paper purchased by the American idolator of Netanyahu, the casino  magnate Sheldon Adelson. 40% of Israelis pick up this propaganda sheet and only 5% of israelis read a real paper like Haaretz. So Miriam writes. She is now 75 and still hopes for the best.


From Holocaust to rebirth to occupation

I am a Holocaust survivor, born in Belgrade in 1940, and my childhood was spent in the ghetto and in a Budapest hospital under an assumed name. My life essentially began in 1948 when I immigrated to Israel. Here my family and I built our lives with difficulty and distress, without help from the establishment although the Israeli government had committed in the Reparations Agreement to rehabilitate us. I served in the Armored Corps, studied social work, and my husband and I were among the first residents of Arad.

My children served in the army, and I never – until the past few years – felt alienated or unaffiliated with the state in which I was assured a life of freedom as a Jew. In recent years, as I get older, I have encountered people’s hatred of my views on the bus, in the grocery store and in the mall, a hatred that sometimes is expressed in remarks like, “Go to Gaza, to Hamas.” To this we must add the politicians’ use of agitation and hatred for political purposes.

In this atmosphere I feel persecuted once more. We are not victims. A people that conquers another people, a nation that has a strong army, isn’t permitted to use the Holocaust to justify its actions. Every day I feel the evil spirits wafting through the country. I feel like an unwanted outsider, and, sad to say, I’m also afraid. Maj. Gen. Yair Golan was correct. As the man responsible for all our children he had to say what he did. Hatred of the stranger, the occupation, an unwillingness to accept those with different views – these are all foundations of a fascist movement. We must stop this immediately, because if we don’t, it won’t help our leaders to use the Holocaust to stop the criticism from the free world, which will justifiably condemn these phenomena.

Miriam Handelman Bat Yam
May 23, 2016

The United States of Amnesia

May 27, 2016


Comes another independent film not coming to a cinema near you. Everywhere the landscape is changing. More and more people seeing through the incessant drumbeat of Israeli lies, its craven enablers in the US media and Congress. Church organizations (except the somnolent Catholic church) at the national level are supporting Boycott Divestment Sanctions against the apartheid state. More unions are on board, campuses are buzzing with BDS activity and most worrying to Israel are the Jewish millenials who can no longer stomach the evisceration of the Jewish ethical life.
People in general are less afraid of being tagged anti-Semitic in spite of tremendous pressure. The mood seems to be changing at long last. A lie can not simply last forever. Connections are being made in the USA between between police violence in the cities here and military violence against Palestinians. More and more people are understanding that urban police departments in the USA have been trained by the experts—Israelis who have ben past masters at penning up an occupied population.


The ongoing military occupation of Palestinian territory and its repeated invasions of the Gaza strip have triggered a fierce backlash against Israeli policies virtually everywhere in the world — except the United States. The Occupation of the American Mindtakes an eye-opening look at this critical exception, zeroing in on pro-Israel public relations efforts within the U.S. Narrated by Roger Waters and featuring leading observers of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, the film explores how the Israeli government, the U.S. government, and the pro-Israel lobby have joined forces, often with very different motives, to shape American media coverage of the conflict in Israel’s favor.


You can own a copy of this important film
The Occupation of the American Mind provides a sweeping analysis of Israel’s decades-long battle for the hearts, minds, and tax dollars of the American people — a battle that has only intensified over the past few years in the face of widening international condemnation of Israel’s increasingly right-wing policies. (Running time: 85 mins)
FEATURING (partial list):
• ROGER WATERS, the narrator of The Occupation of the American Mind.
• AMIRA HASS is the correspondent for the Occupied Territories for Haaretz.
• STEPHEN M. WALT is Professor of International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and the author of The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy.
• NOAM CHOMSKY is a leading U.S. political theorist and activist, and institute professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute for Technology.
• HENRY SIEGMAN is a research professor in the Middle East Program at SOAS at the University of London.
• RASHID KHALIDI is currently Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University.
• RAMI KHOURI is the Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut.
• NORMAN FINKELSTEIN is an American political scientist, activist, and author of numerous books on the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
• MAX BLUMENTHAL is an award-winning journalist for The Nation magazine and New York Times bestselling author of several books.
• PHYLLIS BENNIS is a writer, activist, and policy analyst on Middle East and UN issues.
• MARK CRISPIN MILLER is professor of media studies at New York University and one of America’s foremost authorities on advertising, public relations, and political propaganda.

Praise for The Occupation of the American Mind
“I wish every American would watch this powerful documentary. Not only every person of conscience, but every taxpayer, must see it — and then ask themselves if the status quo is acceptable and can continue deep into the 21st century.” Gideon Levy, columnist for Haaretz
“Harrowing and incendiary! A vital and unmissable film.” Dave Zirin, The Nation magazine
“One of the most compelling and important documentaries in recent years, because it helps us make sense of the lies, mayhem, and injustice in the heart of the Middle East: Palestine. … watch this film.” John Pilger, journalist and filmmaker
“A remarkable achievement. Anyone who wishes to understand the deeper reasons for America’s utter failure to bring peace to the region should begin by watching this powerful film.” Avi Shlaim, Professor Emeritus, Oxford
“A superb documentary that makes a devastatingly persuasive case that the U.S. public is being systematically subjected to disinformation from its media on the Israel-Palestine conflict.” Jonathan Cook, journalist, author
“A powerful film that exposes an infuriating reality. You cannot watch this film without grieving for the Palestinians, for the propaganda we’ve been subjected to … ” Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Code Pink
“Not only land, but also minds can be colonized. The brilliance of this documentary is that it manages to tell the story of both forms of colonization simultaneously.” Neve Gordon, Professor of Politics, Ben-Gurion University

“As courageous as it is informative, brilliantly produced and faithful to its search for the truth, it makes clear how the current right-wing government in Israel has weaponized knowledge …” Henry Giroux, McMaster University

The solution: move Israel to USA

May 19, 2016

courtesy of Truthdig and Norman Finkelstein

In an interview with Open Democracy, Finkelstein, who regards the image as “funny” and a “joke,” remarked, “As crazy as the discourse on Israel is in America, at least we still have a sense of humour. It’s inconceivable that any politician in the U.S. would be crucified for posting such a map.”


Omar Barghouti banned in Israel

May 16, 2016

Well, they are at it again. Yep, it’s Israel, ”the only democracy in the Middle East.” What a joke. The latest embarrassment is the travel banning of Omar Barghouti the co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. Barghouti like others before him is a particular danger to Israel as he is a fluent English speaking activist who has carried BDS around the world.


In former years Israel simply expelled Palestinian leaders who were gaining nonviolent traction among the masses. The most famous case was that of Mubarak Awad(simply Google him). There are many nonviolent actions even today in Israel but the western press refuses to give them the press they merit.


All the while you have a nonviolent actor like Barghouti who is punished for advocating peaceful stratagems like BDS. Israel will do anything to stop him and BDS.In the USA we see desperate attempts to criminalize such an nonviolent movement


Barghouti, born in Qatar, lived in Egypt but moved to Jaffa and has lived without incident in ACRE for 22 years. He is married to a Palestinian Israeli citizen and has what is called a “visa of permanent residency” but needs official permission to travel outside Israel.

Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch told The Electronic Intifada that “Israel’s refusal to renew Barghouti’s travel document appears to be an effort to punish him for exercising his right to engage in peaceful, political activism, using its arsenal of bureaucratic control over Palestinian lives.” She added: “Israel has used this sort of control to arbitrarily ban many Palestinians from traveling, as well as to ban international human rights monitors, journalists and activists from entering Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.”


Silence from the EU and USA.they love the murdered Jesus, Gandhi and King, the nonviolent martyrs, but turn their backs on a living actor, a true champion of nonviolent,civilian led tribune of the people.
Barghouti remains nonplussed.

“By repeating platitudes about Palestinian human rights but then persistently failing to criticize Israel when it denies them, the US administration is protecting Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid from accountability. In effect, this administration is giving Israel a tacit green light to violently repress Palestinian, Israeli, American and other human rights defenders who are struggling nonviolently for the realization of Palestinian rights under international law through the time-honored tactics of boycott and divestment. With  the “pernicious rise of the influence of the far-right, settler-dominated Israeli government in the US Congress in recent years, the US administration has surrendered any attempts to hold Israel to account, even when it undermines US policy interests.”

To the consternation of hardline, out of touch Jewish organizations, young millenial Jews are more and more supporting the BDS nonviolent alternative.


Jewish Voice for Peace spokesperson Rebecca Vilkomerson said she hoped activists would “flood Secretary Kerry’s office with tens of thousands of messages” because “this is more than just an attack on one political leader. It’s an attack on the right to nonviolently organize for justice, freedom and equality.”


Mahmoud Nawajaa, the general coordinator of the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC), the broadest coalition in Palestinian civil society that leads the global BDS movement, said:


“Having failed to stop the growth of BDS in the mainstream, Israel is now launching a desperate and dangerous global war of repression on the movement. After losing many battles for the hearts and minds at the grassroots level, Israel and its well-oiled lobby groups are pressuring western states to implement patently anti-democratic measures that threaten civil liberties at large.
By banning our colleague Omar Barghouti from traveling and threatening him with physical violence, Israel is showing the lengths it will go to in order to stop the spread of the non-violent BDS movement for Palestinian freedom, justice

Racist murder in Israel

May 5, 2016


On March 24 a 19 year old Israeli medic-soldier and French citizen Elor Azarya was filmed summarily executing Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sharif an incapacitated Palestinian who lay wounded in the occupied city of Hebron where the IDF defends 600 illegal settlers in a Palestinian city of 220,000.This cowardly act flying in the face of all Hippocratic oaths that medics especially should attend the wounded, went viral. The murder was filmed by a “Jew of conscience” who worked for B’Tselem the Israeli human rights group.

Shockingly, a petition defending this sick man proliferated within a few minutes and a poll revealed that 82% of Israelis supported the execution. Rallies were held all over Israel. At a rally in Rabin Square Azarya’s mother, Oshra Azarya, who previously had written on Facebook to kill Palestinian mothers and children , broke down when she spoke of her son’s “angel eyes”.

The  mother wrote to the paper Ya’alon “I am the mother of the soldier that you sent on a mission to protect the country’s citizens and you have abandoned him. A mother who sent her son to protect the country and its citizens, and the establishment reciprocates by firing back and silencing his voice. I am the mother of the 19-year-old boy who is standing alone in front of the political and military leadership and can’t take it on.”

To bring a more sobering view on this shockingly brutal act Gideon Levy wrote on March 27:

It was murder. It was murder of the most abominable kind, the murder of a helpless human being. It was murder committed by a cowardly soldier, who shot a wounded man. The murderer’s accomplices were those colleagues of his who said “it’s no big deal” and the officers who spoke on their cellphones or occupied themselves in a thousand different ways while the wounded man lay helpless. The soldier shot him in the head and his body was left bleeding on the road.

Levy increasingly is the voice of sanity in racist Israel.  The brave Haaretz reporter spoke the truth about Israel, the great democracy’s penchant for extra judicial killings.
The momentary storm that erupted in Israel is a self-righteous one. This is exactly what the extrajudicial killings over the past months have looked like – the only difference was the B’Tselem camera. There were plenty of testimonies and evidence about these killings, but Israelis chose to close their eyes. As in previous incidents, the wounded man lying on the road was no threat to anyone – and no shrewd lawyer will be able to convince a decent judge that the soldier fired because he felt that his life was threatened.

The question raised by Levy is What has happened to us. What kind of people cheer on a murderer? A murder that required no courage, a cowardly act of the highest order, has become heroic in the eyes of the masses, simply because it ended with a dead Palestinian bleeding on the road to the sound of their rejoicing.


HEROFor this longtime observer of the country he loves as an israeli patriot,”Israeli racism has reached a new peak….Israel is probably the most racist country in the world… These are deep currents that are difficult to stop. They have settled deep in people’s hearts, the result of decades of incitement and brainwashing.”

The Selfie Banality of Evil

May 1, 2016


Once a week the brave Christian Peacemaker Team sends out photos of the Occupation.

This one particularly grabbed and infuriated me.
I immediately sent it on to some friends with the following commentary:

Look at these dumb brainwashed Israeli soldiers taking selfies in the Palestinian city of Hebron where about 600 settlers are “protected” from 215,000 Palestinians. Observe the two Palestinian men looking on, humiliated by these immature conscripts. CPT wrote that “The men were detained for over an hour, while one was released after 40 minutes. One of the men was taken behind the container to be body searched. Meanwhile, these soldiers ensured that they captured their role in this humiliating, infuriating and violating occupation for social media.

These soldiers probably about age 19 doing their 2 years of service in the IDF (males do 3) have no idea that pictures like this are accelerating the demise of Zionism. They are totally unaware that their immature frivolity is purchased at the expense of another people. A decade from now at least two of them will be deeply embarrassed at their gross insensitivity. This selfie taken by bored kids in an army of Occupation has wings and a voice, the same one that came from Sinai, ”Let my people go.”

A day later on the website Mondoweiss ( the same picture was produced with the excellent caption The Banality of Evil.

Following the brief description several comments were posted:

• April 29, 2016, 1:25 pm
this photo should be on the front page of the nyt in all its banal, evil and lascivious glory

John O April 29, 2016, 1:53 pm
You’re right, DaBakr. High time more people saw what an ill-disciplined rabble the IDF are.
oldgeezer April 29, 2016, 7:56 pm
In the nyt version the Palestinians would be airbrushed out and the selfie used to demonstrate how western and girlish they are. How wholesome. What kind of depraved values were these young people raised with. Disgusting. The decent people in Israel need bodyguards. Only the rotting core is left besides those few courageous souls.

Refaat April 29, 2016, 3:29 pm

As a Palestinian kid growing up in occupied Gaza during the first Intifada, I have seen people arrested, killed, injured, and beaten. It was horrible. But what still sticks with my 20 years later are the regular sessions of humiliation at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces. Sometimes they would beat us for the fun it. Sometimes they would line us up and, smiling, a soldier would try to slap two or three of us with one hit. The others stood their giggling. That was one major reason why I threw stones at the passing Military jeeps later on.

• Kate April 30, 2016, 6:55 am

Thank you Refaat. Don’t know how you endured that – humiliation is often worse than injury and is inexcusable at any time. I have not forgotten or forgiven instances of humiliation that happened to me decades ago, and most were not as bad as what happened to you since there was usually less of an audience
I wonder if the Israelis have any idea how much hatred they engender with this behavior? Apparently not, since they continue to blame ‘incitement’ for any Palestinian resistance.

86 Cowardly Dopes

April 29, 2016

As usual it takes a brave Israeli columnist to tell the truth to 86 American politicians who bend the knee to the Israeli lobby. Gideon lLvy writing today in Haaretz  is justifiably appalled at the waste of American money on  Israel’s putative defense needs.

Levy writes with thinly disguised disgust at these ignorant politicians

The 83 U.S. senators who urged the president to increase military assistance to Israel are 83 ignoramuses and their letter is a disgrace. Israel of all countries? Military assistance of all needs?
Increasing military aid won’t add one iota of security to Israel, which is armed to the teeth. It will harm Israel. Those 83 out of 100 senators base their extraordinary demand on “Israel’s dramatically rising defense challenges.”
What are they talking about? What “rising challenges”? The rise in the use of kitchen knives as a deal-breaking weapon in the Middle East? The challenge for one of the world’s strongest armies to survive against young girls brandishing scissors? Hamas’ tunnels in the sand? Hezbollah, which is bleeding in Syria? Iran, which has taken a new path?
It’s time they expanded their narrow view and reduced the enormous aid they shower on Israel’s arms industry – one of the world’s largest weapons exporters – and its army.

The United States is allowed, of course, to waste its money as it sees fit. But one may ask, senators, if it makes sense to invest more fantastic sums to arm a military power when tens of millions of Americans still have no health insurance and your senate is tightening its purse strings despite the challenges of climate change.
A world power is arming a regional power as part of a corrupt, rotten deal. Your money, senators, is largely being spent on maintaining a brutal, illegal occupation that your country claims to oppose – but finances.

Alice Rothschild Jew of Conscience pt. 1

April 25, 2016

Alice Rothschild is a 68 year old Jewish-American physician, author, filmmaker, and peace activist. Raised in an Orthodox Zionist family in Boston, she became active in feminism and health care reform, especially for poor and marginalized women. In 1997 she turned her abundant intelligence to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Rothschild like many “Jews of conscience” has tried to understand how Jews, with a long history of justice-making could become so blind to the oppression of Palestinians. Her thinking out loud produced two books Broken Promises, Broken Dreams: Stories of Israeli and Palestinian Trauma and Resilience and On the Brink, written in the summer of 2014 while she was in the West Bank during the events leading up to the massacre in Gaza. Rothschild has also produced the documentary Voices Across the Divide an attempt to understand Israel’s shocking behaviour rooted in fear and trauma.


Recently Rothschild appeared on Israeli television and spoke forthrightly about her experience in Israel. As per usual her Facebook page was deluged by vitriol and personal attacks by fellow Jews with absolutely no experience in the west bank or Gaza .None of her detractors has had the open-ended history that Rothschild has had in Palestine. This is part of her experience:
I traveled last spring—and will return next month—to the West Bank to work on art projects in a refugee camp in Nablus and a small Palestinian agricultural village in the Jordan Valley scheduled for demolition by the Israelis. Once there, one cannot help but see the ugly face of the occupation: the mammoth indignity of the separation Wall, the steady encroachment of the Israeli settlements on Palestinian land, the appropriation of Palestinian water and resources, the omnipresent military checkpoints, the house demolitions, the constant humiliations. All of this being done with the help of U.S. weapons and equipment. But most of all is the overriding clarity that there is not now nor has there ever been any desire for or possibility of a Palestinian state. When Netanyahu said recently that he had no intention of allowing a two state solution, many people in the US were shocked. But, in fact, that has been the policy all along. The “peace process” has been a mirage manipulated by the Israelis to defuse criticism. And the U.S. has played magician’s assistant in pretending the mirage was real.


And this is a précis of her TV appearance


I elaborated on the clash between progressive Jewish values and history in the US and the indefensible occupation and the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza that I had personally witnessed in 2015 and on annual visits since 2004. I explained that BDS is a response to Israeli policy, growing racism in the society, and the death of a functional peace movement. I explained that the core issue is that Israel is the last colonial project in a post-colonial age, that having a country symbolized by a tank with Star of David is dangerous for Israelis (Jews and Palestinians) as well as our respective Diasporas.

The narrator ended the episode reflecting on the changes between older Zionist families and their children and grandchildren and expressed astonishment that there appeared to be a connection between blacks and minorities in the US and Palestinians. Who would believe this could happen? Perhaps this is the new audacious cool thing to do? As usual, Israelis were described more as passive victims than active participants in whatever was happening. So maybe Omri didn’t really get it, which is of course why I support the strategy of BDS.

Zionist thought police in action

April 22, 2016

Simone Zimmerman could be the type of millennial to help save Judaism from a Zionist takeover.


She is the 25 year old young woman who was unceremoniously booted from the Bernie Sanders campaign as a jewish outreach coordinator for some negative comments about the hapless Netanyahu who appears to be driving Israel into an ultimate outlier on the international stage.

Here is Zimmerman last year on a Facebook rant: for Netanyahu was “an arrogant, deceptive, cynical, manipulative asshole. He is the embodiment of the ugliest national hubris and tone-deafness towards the international community. F**k you.

After effing up Bibi, Zimmerman erased her comment (what the hell she was 24!) from Facebook 10 hours later but alas the damage was done and the zionist thought police pounced on her and went full bore at Sanders.

Peter Beinart, a liberal Zionist and regular contributor to many Jewish publications wrote: Perhaps Simone chose the wrong words. Perhaps she should have called Netanyahu “one of the most obnoxious individuals you’re going to come into – just a liar and a cheat,” as former Clinton administration press secretary Joe Lockhart did. Or she could have simply called him a “liar,” like former French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Or she could have used the term popular in the British foreign office: “armored-plated bullshitter.” Or she could have called him a “corrupt individual, a contentious liar who is ruining everything that is good about our society.” Those words came from Leah Rabin.
Zimmerman’s trajectory from young Zionist defender of Israel fell apart when she came to Berkeley and met Palestinians—which most israelis and American jews never do.She had to confront the ugly face of Zionism as Beinart described “interactions that made them confront the human consequences of holding millions of people as non-citizens, without free movement, under military law, for almost fifty years.


Something had to give: Zionism or biblical Torah justice.


More next time.

Israel descends

April 6, 2016

The facts are clear. An Israeli soldier, a medic no less, shot dead a young Palestinian man as he lay wounded and unable able to move. On March 24 Abdel Fattah AL Sharif was shot at a chekpoint in the largely Palestinian city of Hebron. This cowardly action, a war crime, was filmed by the human rights organization B’Tselem.
It is in the response to such shocking barbarity that we see the hope and despair that is modern Israel. In this regard we can trust the sterling newspaper Haaretz to help us understand the present-day morass and ethical disintegration in Israel.

Two regular writers help us in this regard. The first is the contemporary prophet (and I do not throw around this descriptor lightly) Gideon Levy, oft quoted in this blog. The second to be dealt with later is  Ari Shavit—and who knows there may be more.This war crime has impacted thousands.



Delirious supporters ofthe IDF soldier

Such callous disrespect for Palestinian life has been going on so long, Levy suggests that this latest act reflecting Israeli identity, the old one was problematic too, but the new one is incorrigible. It’s not a passing fancy, it’s the zeitgeist and the ortgeist, the spirit of the place, and it is patently irreversible that “ the new situation, of which the the soldier in Hebron is just one symptom, is irreversible, because there’s no one to change it.

He lists the media, the army the government, the Supreme Court…all are complicit.They are going to stop this madness? “Don’t make me laugh.” He names the the low points of Israel’s disintegration

After the orgy of 1967 came the turning point of Operation Protective Edge: In the summer of 2014, tolerance died, replaced by violence. The Zionist-religious demon genie escaped, and there’s no one to recapture it

In ages past one might have hoped for the deep universal and humanistic values of Judaism to speak publicly about such a profanation.well, don’t make me laugh.

Two weeks ago, Sephardic Chief Rabbi Yitzhak Yosef said that it’s a “mitzvah” (religious commandment) to kill armed Palestinians.

Another well known Zionist rabbi and head of a Jerusalem yeshiva Uri Sherki said in January that there is an “obligation for Jews to kill terrorists before they kill us.”

In that ancient centre of Kabbala learning Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu said last October “ It is forbidden to leave a murderer alive.”

Rabbi Benzion Mutzafi a year ago when asked “Am I allowed to kick the insurgent, hit him or shoot him in order to kill him after he has been arrested or is this prohibited?”

The answer

“It is not only desirable to do so, but it is a religious duty that you hold his head down to the ground and hit him until his last breath.”

Not much hope here.

Levy is close to despair

It’s doubtful that a nation so corrupt can be brought back to the straight and narrow. A people that has lost its moral compass, even its shame, will never find them again. How would it, and why? No one even seems to be trying.

More next time.


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