Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

May 15 is Nakba Day

May 15, 2017

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The 15th of May is NAKBA Day

Al Nakba, which means “The Catastrophe” in Arabic, refers to the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their land in 1948 for the creation of the Israeli state. The trauma and memory of Al Nakba is still alive as millions of Palestinians living inside and outside of Palestine/Israel wait to return to their ancestral lands, while thousands more continue to be expelled from their land. The Nakba has had a profound effect on the lives,

 

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narratives, identities and culture of generations of Palestinians. Every year on May 15th the Nakba is commemorated around the world.

The memory burns as Israel desperately tries to deny even a mention of this brutal act.

Today in Nazareth where a Jew who also lived under occupation, Yeshua ben Miriam (Jesus of Nazareth) proclaimed a a new reign of justice the  police denied the organizers a permit, saying there is a shortage of officers to oversee the march.

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But Palestinian leaders in Israel accuse the far-right government of Benjamin Netanyahu of being behind the decision, in what they believe is the latest move to silence their commemoration of the events of 69 years ago.

It wont work despite the continued apathy and indifference of our political elite and media to the plight of the Palestinians the world is catching up to the enormity of this crime.

Today, demonstrators flooded the streets of the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip today to mark the anniversary of the ethnic cleansing 750,000 Palestinians in 1948.

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Nearly seven decades on, the number of registered Palestinian refugees has swelled to more than 5.3 million. They live in United Nations-run camps throughout the region, including in the occupied West Bank and Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan and Syria.

Canada is a Christian nation LOL

May 13, 2017

The main purpose of the nation-state bill is to remind Israel’s Arab citizens that they are second-class citizens while creating constitutional infrastructure for the possibility that Jews might become a minority between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, making it necessary to give them legal preference over other citizens. The usual name for that is apartheid.
Haaretz editorial May 12, 2017

We, the people of South Africa, believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.” So begins the constitution of post-apartheid South Africa.

“France… ensures the equality of all citizens before the law, without distinction of origin, race or religion,” states Article 1 of the French Constitution.

New legislation to cement the definition of Israel as a state belonging exclusively to Jews around the world is a “declaration of war” on Palestinian citizens of Israel, the minority’s leaders warned this week.

The bill, which defines Israel as the “national home of the Jewish people”, passed its first vote in the Israeli parliament on May 10. Even though there are 2 nations living there, Netanyahu represses the fact that Israel is a binational state imposing an apartheid regime.

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Prime Minister Netanyahu has vowed to get the measure on to the statute books within 60 days and Israel will not be a nation of all its peoples. Netanyahu will be the PM of of the Jewish nation and not the PM of Israel.

Meanwhile in Canada, Prime Minister Justin Pelideau inspired by former PM Stephen Harper, announced in a parallel move that he too would be introducing legislation naming Canada as “the national home of Christians alone.”

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When Peladeau was challenged by opposition member Luther Martin NDP, Centre Island he replied,”It’s time we stood up to immigrants and refugees particularly from Muslim lands who have diluted the pur laine of White Christians.”

Speaking to Toronto Sun and National Post reporters in front of St.Michael’s Cathedral, Peledeau said, “Make no bones about it, this is a Christian nation. You ride the Queen street car from Parkdale to the Beach and you see all these brown non-Christian people to whom we have given the vote and you wonder where this country is going. All the Arab people and and all the Jewish people living in one state with equal citizenship and equal rights.? You call that democracy?

 

I believe my good friend Binyamin Netanyahu has every right to claim Israel is both a democracy and a Jewish state. What the hell are Palestinians doing there anyway?

 

When reporter Rosie De Minish reminded him that 20% of Israel are both Palestinian and indigenous and feel utterly marginalized in the socalled “only democracy in the Middle East,” Peledeau snorted, “I suppose you are going to tell me that a democracy is a political system of all its citizens, irrespective of race, religion or ethnicity. You are wrong. Canada is the national home of the Christian people—and if I had my way, it would be the national home of the Catholic people.’

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Self-censorship on Israel

May 11, 2017

The Star reached a new low on March 24 when it allowed its columnist Rosie Dimanno to launch a vile attack on the distinguished international jurist, professor Richard Falk. Dimanno’s shocking screed should have never passed a discerning editor’s desk but the Star for years has allowed Dimanno to opine on almost every subject. Like the US ambassador Nikki Haley who also went after Falk at the UN, Dimanno did not have any idea  of Falk’s scholarship and international reputation.

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His crime: he, a Jew, openly criticized apartheid Israel.

The Star, I am sure, received countless letters of disgust at such an ad hominem attack yet not one letter appeared in print including the one I sent.

The newspaper business today is suffering huge losses and almost all print journals including by the way the supposed liberal weekly NOW Magazine are almost paranoid about printing anything negative about Israel.The threat of a boycott makes them all wiggly.

My letter to the Star like several others went into the delete file:

We’ve known for years that Rosie Dimanno is an expert on all subjects—global politics, the Leafs, Blue Jays, etc. No subject is beyond her wide-ranging insights,  arrived at after years of study and travel. Friday March 24 however our Rosie reached a new low, labeling   Richard Falk, distinguished professor of international law and United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian Human Rights a ‘self-hating Jew.” Is a “self-hating Jew” someone who dares criticize Israel’s  shameful human rights record?

These days there seems to be thousands of self-hating Jews, nourished on a culture of human rights who are embarrassed by a state calling itself Jewish.Dimanno is sadly out of her depth as she usually is when she leaves the locker room of the Leafs and the Jays.She and the Star owe professor Falk an apology.

The Star in the age of diminishing revenue and subscribers bravely attempts to stay true to its Atkinson principles of “comforting the afflicted and inflicting the comfortable” searched for a way out of its dilemma. They refused to print the many letters, then waited 2 months to give Falk a platform, a reasoned, dispassionate article  called “the hazards of criticizing Israel” which it published on May 9 and whichI will comment on in the future.

Needless to say, the Zionist thought police are even more virulent when it comes to Jews who criticize Israel. I know many Jews who simply walk a way from this issue—including many rabbis. They simply refuse to deal with such a polarizing subject. They can’t stand the heat so they get out of the kitchen, in this case the gift of the prophetic vouchsafed to Jew in the Hebrew scriptures.

The many brave Jews of conscience who refuse to be muted have had to launch their own platforms of dissent as their principled criticism simply will not be tolerated in the synagogue.

One such person was the feminist writer Naomi Wolf whose heart was broken over the last massacre of innocents (over 500 women and children) in Gaza 2014

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“I went to synagogue last Friday night and had to leave because I kept waiting for the massacre in Gaza to be addressed….. Nothing. Where is God? God is only ever where we stand with our neighbor in trouble and against injustice. I turn in my card of faith as of now because of our overwhelming silence as Jews…..I want no other religion than this, seeing rather than denying myneighbor under fire and embracing rather than dismissing those targeted with annihilation and ethnic cleansing.”

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In Canada many Jews of conscience, appalled at Israel’s behaviour, and marginalized in their synagogues, had to move beyond to speak their Torah truths of tzedek, tzedek tirdof—justice, justice you shall pursue (Deut 16:20). Now we have the Independent Jewish Voices begun by a young Jew nourished in the bosom of the synagogue. Now he is a paraih and victim of scurrilous attacks by other Jews and superficial writer like Rosie Dimanno

Zionist thought police

May 10, 2017

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15 years ago the local Zionist thought police descended on me, in effect canceling a lecture i was to give at the Jewish library. I asked my timorous host why I was being cancelled for a gig i had never sought but agreed to.The occasion was the launch of my Toronto memoir Shabbes Goy: A Catholic Boyhood.

The host a local rabbi told me that they had done research on me and found out (horrors!) that I actually agreed with Nobel laureate Bishop Desmond Tutu who likened Israel’s treatment of Palestinians to apartheid. Tutu had asked,””Have our Jewish sisters and brothers forgotten their humiliation? Have they forgotten the collective punishment, the home demolitions, in their own history so soon? Have they turned their backs on their profound and noble religious traditions?”

I told the rabbi that it was his call and that he was making a mistake. However much I had agreed with Bishop Tutu my talk was on my own teenage experience of anti-Semitism in downtown Toronto .I would not be delving into the present morass.

The next day i received several calls from Jewish friends who upbraided me for my “no show,” I asked what the rabbi said. I could not come. Wow, the rabbis lied. I brushed it off and laughed when one of the emailers, a well known Jewish folk singer told me that he had got in his car and went up and pinned the rabbi to the wall for his less than honorable activity.

The I was invited to the downtown Jewish Y to speak as the only goy at Books and Bagels, a Sunday discussion on a relevant book. The lady in charge called me and informed me the thought police had assured the Y that was no longer a friend of the Jewish community and they should cancel me. To their everlasting integrity, the Y refused and a large crowd—many old friends from my Harbord baseball days–came and we had a ball. I never even addressed the Palestinian question as it was outside the purview of this book.

Another time, a chagrined congregant at a local synagogue sadly informed me that “they had received phone calls” and it would be best if I did not come.”

I simply chalked this up to the rising tide of fear and paranoia which was gripping the Jewish community at this time.

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15 years later things have gotten considerably worse as the computer, cell phones and brave Jews of conscience have unmasked the real situation in Israel/Palestine.

Israel, triste dictu,l is descending into almost a McCarthyite simulation of a failed democratic state, now run by the most rightwing government in its history. The world has gradually caught on to its cruel occupation and Israel now runs a little ahead of North Korea as a pariah state. All this is sad to me, a former Catholic Zionist who really wants Israel to join the nations a s a true democracy rather than not an ethnocracy which favors one people.

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Recently the cruel hysteria has ramped up its venomous attack and the thought police has in their sights on critics of Israel who happen to be Jewish. To this I return tomorrow.

Occupation unmasked

May 8, 2017

“I’m in my home…what are you doing here?”

It happens every day and it’s been going on for decades, out of sight of diaspora Jews and the rest of us, who out of tribalism and a bizarre theology  continue to reflexively support the apartheid nation, once aptly described by Israeli journalist Ben Caspit writing for Maariv ,”as not a state with an army but an army with a state.”


In this article the brave Haaretz journalist Amira Hass goes out and talks to Palestinians daily victimized by robotic teenage soldiers.

One of those soldiers once said to me, ”what country puts a 20 year old kid in a million dollar tank”?

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Those sad victims brainwashed for 15 years in the Israeli school system, then evangelized by the army are thrown into the maelstrom of an occupation.
Resistance has grown in Israel among many sectors. These Jews of conscience can no longer take a government which sneers at international law and betrays Judaic values. Here in the article Hass lets us know of the creative camera distribution project of B’tselem the israeli hunan rights organization. This began in 2007 providing training to Palestinians living in areas in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza strip.It simply documents the heretofore hidden life of occupation.

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This brilliant award winning project is merely one part of the changed video landscape which has unveiled the long hidden brutalization of a colonized people.

Amira Hass’s article follows

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To the Parents of the Israeli Officer Now Starring in This Disgraceful Video

The proud Jewish soldier didn’t expect the Arab to disobey, so he had to act fast, and then concoct the story that he was attacked Video by B’Tselem of incident near Yitzhar – February 2017 B’Tselem

Your son will be featured there, cocking his weapon against civilians, decisive, coordinated with the other two soldiers who were with him, shooting his orders in broken Arabic, reporting his every move to his commanders. “I’m with three young men, one of them with a camera, not that that bothers me too much.”

Your son didn’t understand what the young man with the camera answered him, because after all, his commanders never taught him ugly IDF Arabic so he could listen and understand, only so he could issue orders.

When he ordered Ahmed Ziyadah to “go home” four or five times, he wasn’t expecting Ziyadah to respond, “I’m in my home. What are you doing here?” These are the lands of my home, Kafr Madama. We came out with the family for a hike, it’s Friday, with other families – men, women and children. You decided to chase us away with tear gas.

Your son didn’t expect that this Arab, armed only with a camera, would boldly approach him and say, “So shoot me; shoot me!” This lack of obedience obligated your son – a proud Jewish soldier – to respond, and fast.

The video is cut off from the moment your armed son and his two armed subordinates physically attacked Ziyadah, who resourcefully managed to extract the data card from the camera and conceal it. Now your son’s heroism is preserved on a video clip that’s included in a film marking a decade of B’tselem’s camera project, to be shown Tuesday as part of the Solidarity Festival 2017. Hundreds of brave and just B’tselem volunteers, Ziyadah among them, have documented what your son and thousands of other sons do during their military service – abuse and brutalize.

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Says Ziyadah: “One of the soldiers pressed down hard on my head with his knee. Another soldier put his knee on my back, and the third stepped on my legs with his feet. Every time I tried to lift my head, the soldiers pressed hard on my head, while another soldier tightened the handcuffs on me more and more. I cried out in pain.”

But it doesn’t end there.

A few weeks ago, when I happened to be in the Nablus area one evening, I took the opportunity to respond to a request by Ahmed’s brother, Mahmoud, to come and hear his story. I knew that a soldier had shot Mahmoud with a rubber-coated bullet and seriously wounded him in the leg – fire at close range, in violation of regulations. And who was punished? Mahmoud, of course. The Shin Bet security service hastened to cancel his work permit for Israel. (The Shin Bet said, “Because of Mr. Ziyadah’s involvement in the incident described in your query, it was decided to prevent his entrance into Israel for now for security reasons.”)

Only during the conversation in their home did I realize that the soldiers who had attacked Ahmed were also responsible for his false arrest and six whole days of abuse and torture by other soldiers. During his detention he thought that his brother had been killed because of him. Meanwhile, while Mahmoud was being treated in the hospital, the family feared for the life of Ahmed in detention. That in itself is worth 1,000 words, but that would be too much both for the space in the newspaper and the patience of the readers.

‘I raised my hands in surrender’

Mahmoud was one of the village youths who hurried to the site of the assault when they heard about it. He saw the soldiers hurting his brother, who was on the ground, and yelled in Hebrew, “That’s my brother!” Another soldier (others had joined the three in the interim) pushed Mahmoud back. Mahmoud stepped back, but his brother Ahmed was still groaning in pain under our soldiers’ boots. Mahmoud says, “I went a little closer again, the soldier told me to leave, I raised my hands (as in surrender), the soldier pushed me again, pointed his rifle at my stomach and then at my left leg, and fired. I fainted and woke up in the hospital.”

The soldiers, who know that there’s no risk of their being investigated or punished, fed the IDF Spokesman their fabrications.

“On February 10, 2017, a number of Palestinians were seen approaching the community of Yitzhar [a distance of 1.5 kilometers from the settlement, which serially encroaches on these peoples’ land with their outposts – A.H.]. The Palestinians who came to the site hadn’t coordinated this with the relevant coordination and liaison administration, as is customary when approaching an area near the community [Coordination? There? Since when? Since the rioters of Yitzhar seized control of the General Staff?]

“As a result, given the sensitive security situation in the district [i.e., the proven violence of the Yitzhar settlers], IDF soldiers were sent to the site to prevent them from approaching the community. The soldiers asked the Palestinians repeatedly to leave the area for around 40 minutes. The Palestinians did not fulfill the soldiers’ request, and one of them, Ahmed Ziyadah, even attacked the officer who appears in the video [Rambo was attacking. Is there no limit to the lies?] Following this, the soldiers arrested Ziyadah and he was transferred to the police to handle. The soldiers fired a rubber bullet at the lower body of another Palestinian present at the scene, who tried to attack the soldiers.” [Poor soldiers. All kinds of aliens keep attacking them, which is why you, the parents, will back them and continue to encourage their brutality

Weep for Israel—and move on

May 6, 2017

Let liberal Jews weep for their dream of Israel, and move on — Alice Rothchild

Alice Rothchild, a Jewish Boston physician after many rips to Israel comes back to the USA and describes the resistance to her message from Jews. She begins with the liberal Jews who “really don’t want to believe this.”

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“So for many many people, particularly Jews who are very involved in the myth of Israel, coming to terms with this is an emotional heartbreak. They have to give up a dream that they realize they were duped. And so that’s sort of like doing family therapy. I’ve done presentations at temples where people sat around and wept, because they’re confronting the fact that what they had thought was going on wasn’t going on.

That’s a kind of response that you can really work on. Because people are listening and they’re open, and they know you’re bearing witness to what you saw, you didn’t make this up. That’s stuff you can work with, you can help people move on, you can address the pain they’re feeling.
The kind of pushback that’s really hard to deal with is the people who say you’re lying.

She goes on to the Israel messengers who tell her she’s lying. “I absolutely will not rise to the hysteria. I get hit with rage, I get hit with pain, I get hit with fear.”

Then Rothchild says: “Basically I feel like the way the Israeli state functions is really a danger to Jews. Not only to Palestinians but also to Jews. We need to really think about, What does Zionism mean. Was it a good idea? We must look at what happened. That really triggers a lot of people.”

Prophecy and Politics

May 4, 2017

Prophecy and politics hardly ever intersect. Politicians too often stick their finger in the wind and see which direction it is blowing. Their eyes are hardly ever “on the prize”, peace and justice, but on the next election.and in this game you need to satisfy the deep pockets. The United States today is totally dominated by big money and as Jane Mayer recently wrote “dark money”—hidden from public view.

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In North America and in particular professional politicians. are extremely reticent to criticize Israel. In the last election the only one who dared to do this was the Jew, Bernie Sanders. The great “progressive  hope” to defeat Donald Trump, Elizabeth Warren is very weak on Israel’s obvious brutalization of the Palestinian people. Hilary Clinton was totally bought off by Haim Saban whose one issue was Israel. Their justifications of course are both pathetic and craven. Politics and prophecy hardly ever intersect.

The great leaders of modern history—like King and Gandhi–were moral avatars who came with a prophetic message and like Jesus paid for their truth-telling.

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Canada, of course, is a small country but susceptible to the same corruption and biases.

Take the case of Chrystia Freeland who I think is a fine woman. She also is a passionate Ukrainian-Canadian with a visceral dislike of Putin and Russia. This we can understand. We are all human and come with DNAS and histories.

But what is it with our Liberal politicians and its subservience to Israel? Justin Trudeau is no better than Stephen Harper was in this regard.

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Remember the hapless “just visiting” Liberal hopeful Michael Ignatieff crawling to the synagogue to rescind his accurate assessment of the 2014 massacre in Gaza: a war crime.”

Are these people—and you can add Bob Rae in this group- so terrified of the Jewish community’s putative power and influence not to see what the world is seeing in apartheid Israel? it is young Jews like those in Independent Jewish Voices who are carrying the prophetic.

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And so a small group of people will exercise their citizenship this Friday on another Liberal politician who is PEO—Progressive except for Palestine.

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Israel doesn’t want you to visit if…

May 2, 2017

The only democracy in the Middle East will deny you a visit as an enemy of the state if you fall into the following categories:

Yossi Fatael, chief executive of the Israel Incoming Tour Operators Association, says an estimated 1 million tourist nights are spent in the West Bank city every year. The hotels are cheaper than Jerusalem—but hey, you are giving Palestinians money.

Already progressive Jews with critical opinions are questioning their proposed trip.

Rabbi Rick Jacobs president of the Union for Reform Judaism openly stated:

“I am frustrated that by passing this law, the Israeli government has, in essence, posted a giant sign by the door of the Jewish state saying, “Don’t come unless you agree with everything we’re doing here.”

Come to Israel–but please don’t talk to any Palestinians.

This is already happening with the thousands  of clueless right wing Christians who go gaga over stones, earth, hillsides, lakes—anywhere where Jesus may have walked but never visit where he lives today—in the lives of oppresed human beings, most of whom are Palestinians.

Art in Bethlehem

April 28, 2017

Art has been retired from teaching for a long time but a Vatican ll Catholic with a social justice orientation, he knows there is no retirement from a world in need of profound healing.

For many years he has chosen to give much of his time to the Christian Peacemaker teams, active around the world and especially in Israel and in particular the schizoid city called Hebron where 800 Israelis are surrounded by 140,000 Palestinians in this large West Bank city.

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In Hebron, Christian Peacemaker Teams Palestine is a faith-based organization that supports Palestinian-led, non-violent, grassroots resistance to the Israeli occupation and the unjust structures that uphold it. By collaborating with local Palestinian and Israeli peacemakers and educating people in our home communities we strive to help create a space for justice and peace.

Here is Art’s recent email.
 My 15th tour with Christian Peacemaker Teams – 2017

Entry at the Ben-Gurion Airport.

This is somewhat nervous making since some members of our team have suffered between one and eight hours of interrogation, some have been put back on the plane and disallowed entry into Israel, but for the old fat white guy it is easy to move through customs.

After a shared taxi ride [ $20 US] I arrived at the dark Jerusalem Hotel, formerly a  lovely Ottoman mansion owned by a wealthy Palestinian family, I  rattled the gate  at 1 AM. As usual, Jacob the night manager answered promptly, carried my bag upstairs to a very large room with a vaulted ceiling and booked me in. Then, as is our custom, we both went to the large terrace, now empty but usually crowded where he treated me to a bowl of peanuts and a large glass of Taybeh draft beer, made by Palestinian Christians in a  a village somewhere north of Ramallah.

At noon I awoke after a solid eight hours of sleep, was served a nice breakfast on the terrace with a cappuccino, even though it was well past the breakfast hours. This is why I stayed there  even though it’s relatively expensive at $132.

However my entry was not yet complete. At bedtime, in Hebron I found a lock on my carry-on bag which I did not put there. Would crazy Israeli security have done this? I looked for our hacksaw , then a teammate asked are you sure this is your bag ? Sure enough this red bag identical to mine had a sticker with a different name. That enforced trip of eight hours through Jerusalem to the airport near Tel Aviv the next day and back. Included of course was another security interview at baggage claim. I’m not even sure that the clothing inside was worth the cost of the trip of  about $100.

The upside of this this eventually came a few days later. A former teammate with CPT was laughing when he came to visit from where he works with Holy Land Trust in Bethlehem. Apparently my entry story had gotten around and was the cause of much mirth among shopkeepers in the old city. I was happy to hear it because they suffer from the checkpoints surrounding the old city. They need more chances to laugh. Few tourists or even people from uptown come here because they can be arrested by the many soldiers and held without charge for three months which is renewable. Some Palestinians have been held for years in this administrative detention system.

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According to B’Tselem the Israeli organization for human rights that tracks such things, there were 644 prisoners, including one woman and 10 minors in administrative detention at the end of August 2016. On Wednesday a couple of us went to a noisy demonstration uptown intended to encourage those prisoners who started a hunger strike to protest the harsh conditions of the Israeli prisons. They say that the Israeli prison service has refused to release this year’s numbers.

Unfortunately, many countries have such a system of unfair detention. when at home I often spend time taking my friend Mohammed Mahjoub to the office near Pearson of the  Canadian border services agency where he must swipe an ID card  in  their machine twice a month. Although Moe emigrated to Canada in 1999 he and his brothers were active in nonviolent opposition to the Egyptian dictator  Hosni  Mubarak. A few of those brothers were imprisoned  by the dictator and his corrupt secret police sent  information to the RCMP and Mohammed was arrested for suspicion of terrorism, one of the five Canadians subjected to this treatment. As happened with the others Mohammed was put in prison without charges or a chance to defend himself in court. The 8 Years in MetroWest detention center and four years of house arrest destroyed his  marriage to a Canadian woman and he has not seen his two boys for over a decade.

Only recently has Mohammed been allowed to use a computer to communicate with his family in the Nile Delta. Our government spent tens of millions to build a special security wing at Kingston penitentiary after 9/11 for all the suspected terrorists they thought they would arrest. But this building was never used for this purpose. Two of the five people arrested by the RCMP on the fake information have successfully sued the federal government and I think two of them have received millions of dollars in compensation for the injustice. So, we cannot be smug in our country. Even one of the interrogators from CSIS, our own secret police, told Mohammed that he did not know why he was there. He said we have no reliable evidence against you at all.

Meanwhile I am enjoying my day off sitting at a table on the corner of Manger Square having a couple of cold beers and catching up on my email. It is very pleasant, about 27° and sunny so I have nothing to complain about. Later I will write more about this situation.

Take care of yourself.

Art in Bethlehem . peace

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Who do you believe, me or your eyes?

April 21, 2017

“Humankind cannot bear very much reality”, so wrote T.S. Eliot in Burnt Norton part of the Four Quartets (1943).and when you have been fed propaganda all your life and cannot easily mine the truth, you cut bait rather than fish.

No matter where we live we are subject to massive doses of BS, nowhere more than in North America where the silent whirring of the capitalist dream merchants goes virtually undetected.Like philosopher Mike harris once said, it’s common sense.

Gerry Spence wrote:

In America, we have achieved the Orwellian prediction – enslaved, the people have been programmed to love their bondage and are left to clutch only mirage-like images of freedom, its fables and fictions.  The new slaves are linked together by vast electronic chains of television that imprison not their bodies but their minds.  Their desires are programmed, their tastes manipulated, their values set for them.
From Freedom to Slavery.

In general people have a vague notion that they are being seduced but it is a sweet seduction—creature comforts, prestige, fame, status etc which buys our silence .Don’t rock the boat cause I’m all right, Jack.

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Neil Postman,in Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985) correctly, in my judgment, wrote that Huxley was closer to the truth than Orwell

Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.

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Daniel Quinn wrote in Ishmael:
Once you learn to discern the voice of Mother Culture humming in the background, telling her story over and over again to the people of your culture, you’ll never stop being conscious of it. Wherever you go for the rest of your life, you’ll be tempted to say to the people around you, “how can you listen to this stuff and not recognize it for what it is?”

And if you do this, people will look at you oddly and wonder what the devil you’re talking  about…you’re going to find yourself alienated from the people around you-friends,family, past associates…

In Israel, where the number one paper Israel Hayom is a freebie paid for by US casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, your worldview is akin to the parallel universe of Fox News. Unfair and unbalanced.

40% of Israel, after Zionist brainwashing in the education system, after being segregated almost totally from Palestinians, after 3 more years in the army, are seemingly incapable of seeing another reality. 4 % of the populace read Haaretz a sterling newspaper. Israeli citizens regularly meet reporters who actually walk in the shoes of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. They report what they see. They, like American philosopher Groucho Marx’s question, Who do you believe me or your eyes.” Sadly, most Israelis wear blindfolds.

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Many people can not bear this reality. Hence the apology from correspondent Gideon Levy written today

I apologize for the one-sidedness. How could I not maintain a balance between the murderer and the murdered; the thief and his victim; and the occupier and the occupied? Gideon Levy Apr 21, 2017

Dear Orna and Moshe Gan-Zvi,

I was saddened to read in Tuesday’s Hebrew edition of Haaretz that you’ve decided to cancel your subscription. I don’t know you, but I will miss you as readers. As someone who is partly responsible for your decision, as your article indicated, allow me to apologize.

To apologize for writing the truth all these years. I should have taken into account that this truth wasn’t palatable to you, and acted accordingly. It was not pleasant for you to read the theory put forward by me and my fellow Haaretz correspondent Amira Hass about the occupation. You, who are active in Rotary Israel, who come from the business world, who are so proud of your children and the fact that they live in the West Bank. Your son was educated at the Eli premilitary academy, and your granddaughters proudly carry the last name Sheetrit.

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Amira Has

You, who are so pleased with yourselves and your values, with your children and your morals, don’t think you should be forced to read unpleasant truths. You simply don’t deserve it. Indeed, how could I have spent all these years publishing articles that even you, generously, admitted were touching, without ever, to my shame, checking how these Palestinian families ended up in their serious predicaments? Really, how did that happen? Of course it was their own fault, but I keep blaming the Israel Defense Forces – how could I?

And how could Amira Hass be so one-sided and lacking in perspective that would explain how a people could prefer the elimination of another people over a democratic society? Really, how could you, Amira? I assume, Moshe, that if they were to lock you in a cage for years, you would continue your Rotary membership and refuse to back a struggle against your incarceration. I assume, Orna, that if foreign soldiers were to burst into your home in the middle of the night and arrest your Moshe before your eyes, kick him, force him to his knees, blindfold him, handcuff him, and beat him in front of your children who study in Eli – and then snatch him from your home for months without trial – you would be looking for some “creative leadership” for your people.

I assume that you, who come from the business world, would lovingly accept those who confiscate your property and ban you from your own land. I’m sure it would never occur to you to struggle against those who have tortured you with such evil for so many years. What can we do? The Palestinians are different from you, dear Orna and Moshe. They were not born in such lofty heights as you. They are human animals, bloodthirsty, born to kill. Not all of them are as ethical as you and your children from the Eli academy. Yes, there are people who fight for their freedom. There are people who are forced to do so violently. In fact, there are almost no nations who haven’t acted this way, including the chosen people you’re proud to belong to.

Not only do you belong; you are the pillar of fire that leads the camp, you’re the best, the moral elite – you, the religious Zionists. I apologize for the one-sidedness. How could I not maintain a balance between the murderer and the murdered; the thief and his victim; the occupier and the occupied? Forgive me for daring to turn off your joy and pride in the land flowing with milk and Mobileye, and cherry tomatoes, too.

There are so many wonderful things in this country, and Haaretz – with its “moral deterioration,” as you call it – is ruining the party. How did I not see that you don’t like to read the truth, and didn’t take this into account when I’d return from the occupied territories every week to write about what I’d seen with my own eyes? But now it’s too late. The call to boycott chocolate spread was too much even for you, so you’ve decided to boycott Haaretz. From now on, the only paper on your coffee table will be the weekly, right-wing Makor Rishon. They won’t write about how IDF soldiers sprayed five Palestinian car passengers with bullets three weeks ago, and I’m sure your Shabbats will be a lot more pleasant from now on.

Levy 30

Gideon Levy Haaretz Correspondent