Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

“God gave it to us”–This is statesmanship?

June 29, 2015

Last week Palestinians mark 48 years since the 1967 war and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem (Palestine) and Golan Heights (Syria).  Not only did this war cause massive displacement and refugees, it started what has been one of the longest military occupations of modern times—nearly half of a century.

And don’t think that this is not getting to Jews of conscience in Israel and elsewhere.

Young Jews are bailing out of synagogues where Israel seemingly has taken the place of the God of justice and mercy. Raised on a culture of human rights they are no longer self-censoring and are organizing to hold Israel up to its Declaration of Establishment 14 May,1948j

Israel will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex;

Nice sentiments those.
Many people are euphoric over Netanyahu’s win as his far right coalition has dramatically hastened the awareness of racism and intransigence in the country.even the US is getting fed up with its client state.

Recently the largely secular country is laughing out loud at the deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely’s remarks about Israel’s ownership of the land of Israel after all God gave it to us and who are you to argue against the Holy One.

This is what passes for statesmanship in Israel today. Hareetz columnist Uzi Baram wrote that “anyone who is rational rather than messianic would go into shock and a defensive crouch.

Baram noted that even Israel’s atheists PMs tried this one out usually to the scorn of anybody with a historical understanding.and as Bram wrote “even the friendliest, has ever accepted the settlements and the horrors of the occupation as a derivative of this fact.”

This time is over. Netanyahu and his blinkered government of blind guides and reactionaries “have no chance of earning international sympathy by declaring that their policy derives from Israel’s right to the entire Land of Israel, while ignoring the suffering of the Palestinians and showing no real willingness to let them establish an independent polity.

Now where will you read serious dialogue like this?

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Apparently not in our political parties. We know where the Tories stand; the Libs are scared of offending Jewish voters.Justin Trudeau just tweeted that the Libs are totally against the BDS movement.and the NDP? Not even an issue.

Night in Gaza

June 26, 2015

NIGHT

The truth will ultimately survive.The lies of israel, its shocking defensiveness, its utter loss of humanity and savage brutality to the people of Gaza, its substitution of hasbara (cynical spin) for honest self-reflection and maybe saddest of all, its betrayal of the highest standards of Judaism—all profoundly depressing.

On the other hand, in testamnets of brave internationalists in this case courageous Norwegian doctors, we once see the transcendent spirit of the human race.

Night in Gaza by  Mads Gilbert; translated from Norwegian by Guy Puzey; introduction by Max Blumenthal
“They say one picture is worth a thousand words; however, in case of the Gaza 2014 inferno you need both the images and the text to appreciate fully the suffering and courage of the victims of Israel’s inhuman assault on the Gaza Strip. It is only someone like Mads Gilbert, who lived through the experience as physician in the al-Shifa Hospital, who can combine both picture and word in a way that stops us forgetting the atrocity and persuades us to work relentlessly to prevent it from happening again.”
—Ilan Pappé, author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

“An unforgettable eyewitness account of the slaughter is given by the two courageous Norwegian doctors who worked at Gaza’s main hospital during the merciless assault, Mads Gilbert and Erik Fosse, in their remarkable book Eyes in Gaza.”
—Noam Chomsky on Eyes in Gaza

A MOVING ACCOUNT IN WORDS AND PICTURES OF A DOCTOR AT WORK IN GAZA

This book is a medical doctor’s account of what he witnessed in Gaza in the summer of 2014. It is the photo story you will not see on television or in the newspapers.

On July 7, 2014, Israel launched a series of aerial attacks on Gaza, followed by the ground phase of the operation ten days later. Mads Gilbert arrived in Gaza on July 13th, and worked day and night for the next two weeks at Al-Shifa Hospital, dealing with casualties, repairing serious injuries, and trying to save lives. With the help of a small, black camera ready in the pocket of his green operating scrubs, he was able to document some of the human cost paid by the Palestinian people for enduring the Israeli occupation. He also kept a daily journal about the situation, with eye-witness accounts of the havoc wreaked by the Israeli attacks, and moving accounts of his interactions with ordinary Palestinians—men, women and children—who had done nothing to deserve the horrific disruption to their lives.

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What Gilbert experienced was awful, and it was immense—the sounds of bombs and screaming, bodies torn to pieces and a society reduced to rubble—but he also saw camaraderie, dignity, human courage and unflinching resolve.

Mads Gilbert is a medical doctor at the University Hospital of North Norway. He received his PhD at the University of Iowa and is a specialist in anesthesiology. He served as a leader of the Emergency Medicine Department of the University of Troms. Since 1981, he has been going regularly to Palestine as a teacher and emergency care doctor in Palestinian hospitals on behalf of UNWRA, the UN aid agency to Palestinian refugees. Over the last few years he has worked in Gaza during successive waves of Israeli attacks on the densely populated area under siege. He is co-author (with Erik Fosse) of Eyes in Gaza, which was hailed by the influential Norwegian newspaper Klassekampen as the “Best Book of 2009.”

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and author living in the United States. His most recent book, Goliath: Life and Loathing in Greater Israel (2013), takes a critical view of Israeli actions and has generated considerable debate.

Unbalanced report on an Israeli war crime

June 24, 2015

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The UN Commission appointed to investigate “Operation Protective Edge,” the Israeli attack on Gaza last summer, published its findings last week. As expected—to anybody with eyes and half a brain—the report strongly condemns the Israeli attacks on civilian targets–which, it says,  “may” have been war crimes.

And as usual, Israel refused to respond to any requests for information and barred the investigators from traveling to the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip or to present-day Israel.What are they afraid of? What they’re always afraid of—international scrutiny. Israel for too long has controlled the framing and the narrative. And the West has always been duped by their brilliant art of obfuscating the truth.

2,251 Palestinians were killed, including 1,462 Palestinian civilians, among them 551 children, the report states. More than 11,000 Palestinians, including 3,540 women and 3,436 children, were injured with almost 10 percent suffering permanent disabilities.

What is shocking given the carnage visited on Gazans —was the pathetic attempt to be ‘balanced’. 6 Israeli civilians, all children of God and 67 soldiers equally precious while 73 people, including six civilians, died on the Israeli side. Who are these people kidding? Who are they afraid of? Given the horrific destruction of Gazan infrastructure compared to the largely impotent Hamas rockets. Ali Abunimah said it, “This is the habitual refuge of international officials hoping to avoid false accusations of anti-Israel bias, the evidence shows that the scale and impact of Israeli violence dwarfs anything allegedly done by Palestinians.”
Senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamas said that its rockets and mortars were aimed at Israeli military sites, not at civilians. He also criticized the UN investigators for the false “balance”. No kidding.

And how about this for chutzpah? Israeli officials also responded to the report  calling it “biased” and saying it has “blood on its hand for allowing the murder of Jews.” Not even a nod to the shocking disproportionate slaughter of Palestinian people. No shame at all. These are the words of a thug who represents a country which more and more resembles an army with a flag.

One never loses hope in the Jewish prophetic.On June 22 in Haaretz the fearless columnist Amira Hass wrote:

In our homes, our streets and our places of work and entertainment, there are thousands of people who killed and tortured thousands of other people or supervised their killing and torture. I write “thousands” as a substitute for the vaguer “countless” – an expression for something that cannot be measured.

The vast majority of those who kill and torture (now as well) are proud of their deeds, and their society and families are proud of their deeds – although usually it’s impossible to find a direct link between the names of the dead and the tortured and the names of those who kill and torture, and even when it is possible, it’s forbidden. It’s also forbidden to say “murderers.” And it’s forbidden to write “lowlifes” or “cruel people.”

Me, cruel? After all, our hands aren’t covered with blood when we push the button that drops a bomb on a building housing 30 members of a single family. Lowlife? How can we use that word to describe a 19-year-old soldier who kills a 14-year-old boy who went outside to pick an edible plant?

The Jewish killers and torturers and their direct commanders act as they do with official permission. The Palestinian dead and tortured that they have left behind over the past 67 years also have grieving nieces and families for whom bereavement is a constant presence. In university hallways, shopping malls, buses, gas stations and government ministries, Palestinians don’t know which of the people they encounter have killed, or which and how many members of their families and their people they have killed.

But what’s certain is that their killers and torturers are walking around free. As heroes.

Premier Wynne about to get snookered

June 4, 2015

Wynne

It is an old trick—handing out awards to prominent people, especially government to give an aura of respectability to a group, or a state which is simply flouting international law. Some call it “greenwashing” or “putting lipstick on a pig.” Onatrio’s Premier Kathleen Wynne, usually a sharpie who can read the tea leaves is the target of Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA).

Progressive Jewish groups have raised the red flag: Premier, don’t get sucked in by this blatant attempt to raise Israel’s well-deserved plummeting portrait on the world stage.

                                   Statement

We are residents of Ontario, concerned about issues of justice and peace in the Middle East.  We have grave concerns regarding the award you are receiving at the upcoming Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) Words and Deeds Leadership Award Dinner on Monday, June 22 at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto. We strongly feel that by accepting this award, you contravene the stated principles that led the people of Ontario to elect you as their Premier.

While we agree that your skills as a leader are formidable, we are surprised that given your commitment to diversity and fairness, and your consistent acknowledgment of Indigenous rights, you would agree to accept an award from an organization that openly supports policies denying the human rights of the indigenous Palestinian people, many of whom live and vote in the province of Ontario.  In addition, accepting this award ignores the many thousands of Jews in this province whose views and loyalties are not represented by CIJA’s extreme Zionist agenda.

CIJA describes itself on its website as a “non-partisan organization creating and implementing strategies to improve the quality of Jewish life in Canada and abroad, increase support for Israel, and strengthen the Canada-Israel relationship.” Two of the three ways in which CIJA describes itself are revealing. It appears that the organization prioritizes its promotion of the Israeli state in Canada. It is, in essence, a lobby group for the Israeli government. Moreover, CIJA promotes the idea that critics of the Israeli state are “anti-Semites” in an effort to falsely equate criticism of Israel’s unjust laws and policies with a hatred of Jews.  Given growing criticism of Israel’s apartheid-like treatment of the Palestinians under its sovereign control, we believe it is unseemly for the Premier of Ontario to accept this award from an organization dedicated to uncritically supporting a government that engages in such behaviour.

CIJA also portrays itself as the single representative voice of Canadian Jews, a claim that has been vigorously been vigorously challenged.  CIJA’s Board of Directors and spokespeople are not elected and are in no way accountable to the diverse Jewish communities in Canada. The only qualification for being appointed to CIJA’s Board of Directors appears to be an unquestioning support for the Israeli government.
In a recent column in the Ottawa Citizen, Carleton University Professor Andrew Cohen commented that “CIJA seems congenitally unable to utter a discouraging word about Stephen Harper, Benjamin Netanyahu or the State of Israel — while allowing Canadians to think its view reflects a consensus among Canadian Jews. It does not.” In fact, its claim of non-partisanship is dubious, according to Cohen, since CIJA’s positions have become so intertwined with those of the Conservative government, it is nearly impossible to differentiate between the two.
CIJA claims on its website that it advocates for “freedom, human rights, social justice, and support for the People and the Land of Israel.” However, its terminology indicates no recognition that this land is home to Jews, Palestinians, Druze and many migrant workers without status. It is telling that CIJA uses a biblical lexicon to describe the region encompassing present-day Israel and Palestine. “The Land of Israel” is the biblical term for the ancient kingdom of the Hebrews, which encompassed all of the West Bank and Gaza.

Loss

Furthermore, CIJA’s website makes prominent use of the biblical term “Judea and Samaria” to describe the occupied West Bank. This is the term used by those who consider the West Bank to belong exclusively to Jews by virtue of a God-given decree. The claims of the Palestinian people who have lived on this land for hundreds of years, whose villages have been destroyed and whose houses have been bulldozed, are systematically ignored by CIJA.  For whose human rights does CIJA advocate, and which people in “the Land of Israel” deserve freedom, social justice and support?

CIJA also supports policies that directly contravene Canada’s official positions. For example, CIJA appears to consider the Jordan Valley — located deep in the occupied West Bank — to bean integral part of the State of Israel. CEO Shimon Fogel responded to the United Church’s charge that Israel’s illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank are a root cause of ongoing conflict, by stating that “The root cause is not Israel’s presence but the rejection of Israel’s presence in the territories.” Unlike CIJA, Canada sees Israel’s attempt to establish a permanent presence in the territories as illegal.
Meanwhile, CIJA refuses to acknowledge many Jewish voices that are critical of Israel’s unjust laws and policies towards the Palestinians, and rejects the idea that these Jews have any place in the broader Canadian Jewish community.  Surely this position contravenes your own stand on the importance of diversity in our province.

By accepting an award from CIJA, you would be sending a message to Ontarians that you find CIJA’s behaviour acceptable. It is far from acceptable for CIJA to claim to act on behalf of Canadian Jews without any semblance of accountability, while denying a voice to many Jews who diverge from their political views. It is far from acceptable for CIJA to uncritically support the behaviour of the Israeli government and military against Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza and within its borders  —  behaviour which human rights experts around the world have repeatedly identified as criminal.

For the sake of a just and lasting peace in Israel and Palestine, acknowledging the diversity of opinions among Jews and other residents of Ontario that differ from CIJA’s, we urge you to please refuse this dubious “honour”.
With hope and determination towards a just and peaceful future for all,

Concerned residents of Ontario representing:
Independent Jewish Voices – Canada
Dykes and Trans People for Palestine
Palestine House
Women in Solidarity with Palestine
Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East
Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid – Toronto
Association of Palestinian Arab Canadians
Canada Palestine Association
United Network for Justice and Peace in Palestine/Israel – Toronto

48 Years…and Counting

June 2, 2015

Occupy

This week Palestinians mark 48 years since the 1967 war and Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem (Palestine) and Golan Heights (Syria).  Not only did this war cause massive displacement and refugees, it started what has been one of the longest military occupations of modern times—nearly half of a century.

And don’t think that this is not getting to Jews of conscience in Israel and elsewhere.

Young Jews are bailing out of synagogues where Israel seemingly has taken the place of the God of justice and mercy. Raised on a culture of human rights they are no longer self-censoring but are organizing to hold Israel up to its Declaration of Establishment 14 May,1948j.In part,it read:

Israel will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex;

Nice sentiments those.
Many people are euphoric over Netanyahu’s win as his far right coalition has dramatically hastened the awareness of racism and intransigence in the country.even the US is getting fed up with its client state.

Recently the largely secular country is laughing out loud at the deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely’s remarks about Israel’s ownership of the land of Israel after all God gave it to us and who are you to argue against the Holy One.

This is what passes for statesmanship in Israel today. Hareetz columnist Uzi Baram wrote that “anyone who is rational rather than messianic would go into shock and a defensive crouch.

Baram noted that even Israel’s atheist PMs tried this one out usually to the scorn of anybody with a historical understanding and as Bram wrote “even the friendliest, has ever accepted the settlements and the horrors of the occupation as a derivative of this fact.”

This time is over. Netanyahu and his blinkered government of blind guides and reactionaries “have no chance of earning international sympathy by declaring that their policy derives from Israel’s right to the entire Land of Israel, while ignoring the suffering of the Palestinians and showing no real willingness to let them establish an independent polity.

Now where will you read serious dialogue like this? Apparently not in our political parties. We know where the Tories stand; the Libs are scared of offending Jewish voters. Justin Trudeau just tweeted “The BDS movement, like Israeli Apartheid Week, has no place on Canadian campuses” , and the NDP? Not even an issue.

Moshe Levinger the father of the settlements

May 23, 2015

Levinger

On May 16, rabbi Moshe Levinger died in Jerusalem and was buried per Jewish custom the following day—in Hebron.

It would take a book to evaluate Levinger’s impact on israeli society.

His name is probably meaningless here but in Israel, Levinger had a dramatic effect on Israel’s politics.
Since I believe in the idea of De mortuis nisii bonum,(about the dead speak nothing but good) i will attempt to be to be as kind as possible to the rabbi.

This may end up like the famous story of Georgie Jessel, the toastmaster of Jewish Hollywood who was roped into doing a eulogy to a man everybody knew was a bastard. Jessel simply pointed to the coffin and said,”His brother was worse.”

Nisi bonum”. Since the reb had 10 kids he probably was a good father.And he was loved by the settlers in the illegally occupied West Bank.

Levinger in 1968 camped out in Hebron during Passover. He refused to leave after the holiday and so began the rise of Gush Emunim, the radical settler movement which continues to destroy Israel and which now with about 600,000 illegals camped out all over Palestinian territory, making a 2 state solution impossible.

Levinger was a product of Kookism, the radical movement of religious Zionism based on the writings of Rabbi Abraham Yitzhak Kook (d.1935) and his prolific charismatic son Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook(d 1982),the head of the infamous Merkaz Harav yeshiva in Jerusalem.

Levinger was a human dynamo putting flesh on the Kook’s ultrantionalist religious Zionist which swept Israel after the Six Day War(1967) which was seen as a miracle, a transcendent sign that redemption was near and the messiah would follow. Secularists like the then PM Yitzhak Rabin never had a chance against the “god sanctioned” movement. The messianic true believers  were out to liberate the land of the patriarchs and Hebron was its heart. it was part of Judea and Samaria. That Arabs had lived on the land for 1300 years meant nothing to these inspired radicals.

For the Gush, the land had become a holy vessel and the settlement was a divine command.For them it was the apotheosis of Zionism, a movement which had scorned  rabbinic Judaism.For Levinger anybody (read peaceniks like Rabin) willing to swap land for peace was a rodef, a man who would endanger Jewish lives as in the Oslo accords etc.Levinger was the embodiment of Kookism, a fiery angel of theocratic messianism. Get in his way and you will get burned—or murdered as Rabin ultimately was.

Gush Emunim has shot its bolt but its tragic success which brought national secular politicians to their knees lives on. Government after government capitulated to this movement of which Levinger was its hero.

Levinger was like a sheriff in a lawless region. He was arrested several times ,had frequent confrontations with Israeli security forces and killed a Palestinian for which was convicted of negligent homicide and imprisoned for three months. In 1985 he went on a three-month armed vigilante patrol of a Palestinian refugee camp near Bethlehem. The United Nations documented Levinger, “provoked the inhabitants of the camp by firing at them and invading their homes,” and, “reportedly ran along the camp alleys, together with a guard, and both men fired into the air in an indiscriminate manner.” That same year Levinger broke into a Palestinian house in Hebron and assaulted a six-year old. Like many of his arrests that decade, he was given a suspended sentence.n 1986 he was fined 300 shekels for assaulting a soldier at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

For years he terrified the Palestinian majority (160,000 to 800 Jews), much to the fury of the defense Minister Shimon Peres. The man was fearless. He despised the government and urged soldiers to disobey its orders.His model of divine disruption became the template  for other settlements. The government blinked. If it hadn’t there might have been civil war.They had radically miscalculated. Their cowardly inability  to shut him down in 1968 came back to haunt them. In the end Israel paid a huge price for their failure to uphold israeli and international law. Judaism paid a massive price for allowing this man to function as a religious leader. His Judaism functioned as a sad justification for an ethnocratic state and a tribal god.

Levinger was a hero to the the religious ultranationalists. His influence was on Israeli society was catastrophic, on peace in the Middle East equally as devastating.His power in Israel was shown at his death when the president of Israel Reuvin Rivlin stood over his coffin as he was laid to rest.

Rivlinmages

Kill ’em all

May 19, 2015

OZ

The great Israeli novelist Amos Oz is a very funny man.A Zionist of old who was disgusted by the religious ultranationalists who bent every government to their will in Israel. In the mid 70s he was shocked by the arrogance and stupidity of the biblical literalists of the Gush Emunim (Bloc of the Faithful) who started the illegal settlements in the West Bank. This was part of an interview he gave in England in 2011.

A friend of mine, the Israeli novelist Sami Mikhael, told me an episode. He was driven once for a lecture in Ben-Gurion University in Bel Shiva, in my university, he was driven from Haifa, which is a long drive, three hours, by a very militant, right-wing, fanatical taxi driver. And during the drive the chauffeur says to Sami, ‘You know, I believe we have to kill all the Arabs.’ As simple as that.
Sami is a sophisticated man. Instead of saying, ‘Shame on you,’ or instead of just wrapping himself in silence, he turned to the chauffeur and said, ‘Yes, you think so? And who exactly do you think should kill all the Arabs?’ ‘We should kill them. All of us have to kill them.’ ‘No, be more specific, please. Should the police kill them, should the army kill them, should the doctors kill them? Who should kill all the Arabs?’ Quiet. The chauffeur is thinking. Then the chauffeur is saying, ‘I think everyone of us has to kill a few.’Sami doesn’t lose his temper. He never loses his temper. He says to the chauffeur, ‘Okay, suppose you are allocated one block of flats, one block of apartments in Haifa, your home town, and you are to kill all the Arabs in the block.

And you’ll knock on every door or ring every doorbell: excuse me, Sir, excuse me, Madam, are you an Arab? And if the answer is yes, you shoot them and kill them. And you finish the block and you turn to walk home, and then you hear a baby crying from upstairs. Would you go back upstairs and kill the baby? Yes or not?’ Silence. The chauffeur is thinking. Then the chauffeur turns to Sami saying, ‘Sir, you are a very cruel man.’ [Laughter]

Breaking the silence—only in the Letters’ page

May 12, 2015

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Time to break silence on Gaza assault
so writes Dr.Miriam Garfinkle in Sunday’s Star. Both the Star and the Globe did not mention the story of the Israeli Defense Force’s carte blanche to basically shoot anything that moves and they did.The rules of engagement seemed to be non-existent—500 children massacred to begin with. New York times which follows Netanyahu’s every move—zoltz, nada, nothing. A journalistic disgrace. Only the Guardian and The Washington Post and of course Israel’s Haaretz gave it a big play. Letters to the editor often the place where the prophetic rears its timely head. Read on

Published on Sun May 10 2015
The Israeli group Breaking the Silence has just come out with shocking testimonies from Israeli soldiers who served during the assault on Gaza last summer. During 50 days of the assault last summer, more than 2,100 Palestinians in Gaza were killed, the majority of whom were civilians, including more than 500 children.

There was unprecedented destruction of infrastructure leaving well over 100,000 people homeless. More than 10,000 were wounded, including thousands of children many of whom are permanently disabled.

Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military who have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of those who have served in the Occupied Territories.
The testimonies obtained from soldiers serving during the assault on Gaza in 2014, reveal the army’s extreme and indiscriminate use of artillery on civilians and wanton destruction.

Previous reports from such groups as Physicians for Human Rights Israel have indicated clearly that civilians were indiscriminately targeted, including in hospitals and ambulances. Testimonies from soldiers given to Breaking the Silence give further evidence to the extreme criminal actions of the Israeli army last summer.
The silence in North America media on this report is deafening. Even Israeli media has reported it. The suppression of the truth does not serve us well. Breaking the Silence has courageously understood this.
It’s time for the North American media to break its silence.
Dr. Miriam Garfinkle, Toronto

“Kill anything”: a new soldiers’ report from Breaking the Silence

May 7, 2015

Break

The shocking behaviour of the Israeli Defense Force(IDF) in last summer’s slaughter in Gaza is getting fairly wide coverage in the United States (“Kill everything”) —except of course for the New York Times, the “paper of record”. Israel’s media is much more forthcoming here

First some background.

The Hebrew words *tohar ha-neshek *—“the purity of arms” is a concept known to every israeli and believed less and less. Coined by the brilliant Zionist ideologue Bert Katznelson in 1939, it was an attempt to distinguish the Palmach and the Haganah from the terrorist groups Irgun and Lehi who loved to toss bombs indiscriminately in market places. The idea is a good one, an attempt at morality in war. And to be honest it owed its life to the more idealistic strains of Zionism.

In 1992 the Israeli defense force wrote it in its official Ethical Code:

The IDF serviceman’s purity of arms calls for self-control in the use of armed force. He will use his arms only for the purpose of achieving his mission, without inflicting unnecessary injury to human life or limb, or dignity or property, of both soldiers and civilians, with special consideration for the defenseless, whether in wartime, during routine security operations, or in times of peace.”

This is widely believed by diaspora Jewry as it desperately wants to believe in Israel’s morality.

Now Israel’s soldiers are kids, no better or worse than 18-22 years olds anywhere in the world. So we need not demonize them. The fact is they are placed in absolutely horrible circumstances as an army of occupation.Plus they have to navigate the extraordinary propaganda of Israel’s school system in the way it deals with the Palestinians and Israel’s history. Add to this the deep strain of racism in Israel today (read Yoram Binur’s My Enemy, My Self).

It was inevitable that a group of soldiers would begin to say “enough”. This group is called Breaking the Silence, combat soldiers whose unpleasant duty was to work in Hebron, the second largest Palestinian city in the West Bank.You have to visit Hebron to taste real ugliness…170,000 Palestinians and 800 rabid members of Gush Enumim, religious fundamentalists.The role of the IDF is to protect the soldiers and show the natives who is boss. Any human with a scintilla of compassion and integrity would be disgusted with such a brutal job. Among the many decent israelis are a group of soldiers who could not stomach humiliating the native Palestinians. In 2004 in Tel Aviv they mounted an exhibition of testimonies and photographs taken by themselves. The results were not pretty. It was basically washing dirty linen in public, linen well known by the Palestinian populace.

Now, you court danger when you tamper with the myth or the hasbara (propaganda) of Israel that its soldiers are near angels. Give Breaking the Silence full credit.They shocked many citizens and then produced a booklet of their eye-witness testimonies.The only reason I have this book is that I hid it in the middle of my suitcase when exiting the country. Others were not so lucky in the “only democracy in the Middle East”. Border guards were snatching these books from all the pilgrims and tossed them in a huge barrel. Now the book is on Amazon. Censorship hardly ever works.

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And now, after the 4th dirty assault on Gaza, especially the last one in the summer of 2014 the truth is out. Many soldiers can no longer lie about their brutal modus operandi. There is no more covering up the fact.The purity of arms is an obscene lie.

Here is a summary of the coverage

On May 6 a new report based on testimonies of Israeli soldiers concludes the massive civilian death toll from last summer’s Israeli assault on Gaza resulted from a policy of indiscriminate fire. The Israeli veterans group Breaking the Silence released testimonies of more than 60 Israeli officers and soldiers which it says illustrate a “broad ethical failure” that “comes from the top of the chain of command.”

As Britain’s Guardian stated:
Despite the insistence of Israeli leaders that it took all necessary precautions to protect civilians, the interviews provide a very different picture. They suggest that an overarching priority was the minimisation of Israeli military casualties even at the risk of Palestinian civilians being harmed.

More tomorrow.

Another artist boycotts Israel

May 6, 2015

Ms.-Lauryn

Lauryn Hill —apparently one of the best known hip-hop artists in the world — announced that she has added her name to the growing cultural boycott of Israel.cancelled her May concert. Sadly, another artist Alicia Keyes recently snubbed the boycott

The Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) was successful in its attempt to educate performing artists about the apartheid nature of Israel.More than 11,000 people asked Hill to cancel via petition; activists made creative songs and videos; and organizers collected and shared a series of letters from fans encouraging Hill to boycott.

Major media outlets have documented how Israel has prioritized art and culture as a means of branding to whitewash its human rights violations, “so an artist cancellation like this is a big step in the way of responding,” said Andrew Kadi, co-chair of the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation.

Since 2005, over 150 Palestinian solidarity groups in Europe and the United States  have supported  a campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel over its rank discrimination  and abuses of Palestinian human rights.

Roger Waters the former Pink Floyd front man, indefatigable in pursuit of justice in Palestine wrote Hill and contextualized modern Israel:

Performing in Israel today is the equivalent of performing in Sun City South Africa during the apartheid era. (Frank Sinatra, Elton John and Freddy Mercury, Rod Stewart and Linda Ronstadt.) Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and former South African government minister Ronnie Kasrils have repeatedly declared that Israel has created a form of racial apartheid that is far worse than anything that existed in South Africa. As a woman of colour and conscientious artist we urge you not to lend your name to cover up Israel’s crimes.

Miles away from where you are set to perform, over 4.5 million native Palestinians are imprisoned within a system of Bantustans and spatial enclosures between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, the largest open air prison in the world.
In a recent May 3 Haaretz column columnist Gideon Levy cheered Water’s indefatigable efforts in this regard.

In a country without a single courageous Waters, I write to him in his own words. Wish you were here.

It is getting harder and harder for cultural artists to play Israel. Greenwashing is no longer working.

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