Jun 22, 2010

Debunking 9/11 Conspiracy Theories and Controlled Demolition - World Trade Center 7, Building 7

Michael Santomauro @ 917-974-6367

What sort of Truth is it that crushes the freedom to seek the truth?

Let's End Thought Crimes in the Twenty-first Century. -- to separate historical fact from propaganda…peace is patriotic!

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desertpeace | June 23, 2010 at 00:23 | Categories: Gaza, Humanitarian Aid, Iran, Israel | URL:
This cartoon by Jeff Darcy appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer on June 3. This was clearly a breakthrough. The ADL and CAMERA immediately unleashed the Israel Lobby's flak machine; they wouldn't tolerate such favourable representation of what the American Jewish Committee calls 'The Terror Flotilla'. It did not take long for the editors to cave and issue a grovelling apology. It is now time for you to register your opinion.

Are Iranian Ships heading to Gaza or not?

The Red Crescent of Iran says NO..... saying "Iran has been bluffing all along and never had any intention to send any aid ship to Gaza " He added : "Iran is jealous that, following the May 31st flotilla attack Turkey is taking over as Gaza's main champion in the region". Nine people were killed by Israeli commandos including a Turkish-American.

That is taken from a Report that can be read HERE

The following was announced this evening on Iranian State Television....Iran's state television reported that an Iranian ship called Infants of Gaza would sail Sunday for Gaza carrying 1,100 tons of relief supplies and 10 pro-Palestinian activists.

Israel is 'concerned' that Iran's plans are not 'humanitarian' and are obviously preparing for a confrontation....

Iran said Tuesday it would send a blockade-busting ship carrying aid and pro-Palestinian activists to Gaza, fueling concern in Israel, where commandos were training for another possible confrontation at sea. Israel's Foreign Ministry, however, voiced doubts regarding the humanitarian goals of the expedition.

Israel has warned Iran to drop the plan. The Iranian announcement came days after Israel eased its three-year-old blockade of Gaza under international pressure following its deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla last month.

"No one in their right mind can believe that a ship sent by the ayatollahs and their Revolutionary Guards has anything to do with humanitarian aid," said Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor. "I don't think there is one single country in this region and beyond that would let such an ayatollah ship come near its coasts."

The IDF Chief was quoted as saying this evening that "We can't let Gaza become an Iranian port"

An AP Report dealing with this can be read HERE

It's all a wait and see situation at this point.....

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Michael Santomauro @ 917-974-6367 

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Mondoweiss: Obama silent as Israel moves to demolish 22 Palestinian houses



Lawrence Wright: 'most ideal outcome of entire flotilla episode' would be…. release of Gilad Shalit!

Posted: 22 Jun 2010 11:04 AM PDT

The New Yorker's expert on human rights in Gaza is interviewed by Terry Gross on Fresh Air, alongside Ali Abunimah and John Mearsheimer. I'm sorry, that was a joke: the Abunimah and Mearsheimer. When it comes to Israel, the adventurous Gross can't leave her comfort zone.

Notice how much play Fresh Air gives to the Shalit angle on its site. Grotesque. The relentless focus on Gilad Shalit-- as 1.5 million Palestinians live in another type of imprisonment in Gaza, and 10,000 Palestinians are imprisoned inside Israel-- reminds me of the savage line in Huckleberry Finn, when Huck tells Aunt Sally about an explosion on a steamboat.

"Good gracious! anybody hurt?"

"No'm. Killed a nigger."

'Commentary' attacks labor (because Israel always comes first)

Posted: 22 Jun 2010 10:25 AM PDT

I remember when people dismissed Walt and Mearsheimer as purveying "monocausal" political science. Well they weren't monocausal, but the Israel lobby really is monocausal in its thinking. Commentary now dismisses the entire American labor movement because, huh, portions of it seem to be siding with the Palestinians, as in the refusal to cross picket lines to unload the Israeli ship in Oakland on Sunday.

This appears to be an emerging trend. For decades, U.S. unions have been largely inhospitable to the internationalist radicalism of most global labor federations. Their pedestrian, inward-looking character has been a source of frustration to some of their more extremist members and critics. But as international labor aligns itself firmly with the "Palestinian" cause, American organized labor is being presented with the kind of basic choice it hasn't faced since the 1930s: whether to be politically American and affirm American policy stances, or to adhere to a radical posture that subverts national boundaries and delegitimizes national character. The Oakland work stoppage will not be the last such confrontation we see, as this defining challenge for our union work forces heads to a climax.

Jewish group protests 'Brand Israel' in North Carolina

Posted: 22 Jun 2010 09:31 AM PDT

From the video description:

Jews for a Just Peace-NC set up a "Palestinian house demolition" tableau in front of the Durham Performing Arts Center to protest an American Dance Festival performance by the Israel-based Inbal Pinto & Avshalom Pollak Dance Company on June 17, 2010. The protesters exposed the fact that Israel's cultural exports have become a tool to divert attention from Israel's human rights violations. The setup of a demolished home guarded by Israeli soldiers returns the spotlight to those violations. It represents the more than 24,000 Palestinian homes destroyed since 1967 and symbolizes Israel's illegal occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and the collective punishment of 1.5 million Gazans under siege due to Israel's blockade.

Sponsorship and funding for this dance company and other Israeli cultural endeavors come in part from the Israeli government, which is engaged in the Brand Israel campaign to reshape the image of Israel through public relations. Ido Aharoni, head of Israel's Foreign Ministry's brand management team, wishes to reposition "Israel away from an image of a country in a state of war and conflict to a brand which represents positive values and ideals like 'building the future,' 'vibrant diversity,' and 'entrepreneurial zeal'" (Winning the Battle of the Narrative, presented at the January 2010 Herzliya conference).

With such compromised political backing, art cannot be considered simply a positive expression of human creativity. Israeli artists performing abroad are cultural ambassadors legitimizing Israel as a whole, including its policies. These policies -- exemplified by the violent intransigence of the Netanyahu/Lieberman government -- are not in the long-term interests of Israelis, Palestinians, or Americans. Until the conflict is resolved justly, there can be no peace or security in the Middle East or elsewhere. Misleading public relations campaigns are not substitutes for constructive steps towards a just peace.

Jews for a Just Peace asks the US government to withdraw its yearly $ 3 billion support until Israel acts towards Palestinians in ways that respect their human rights as well as their internationally recognized right to self-determination. It also asks that the American Dance Festival refrain from inviting artists who provide de facto cover for policies that flout international law and human rights.

What's the difference between incitement and patriotism?

Posted: 22 Jun 2010 08:05 AM PDT

Here you have an Israeli government minister, Vice Premier Moshe Ya'alon, praising the founder of the Stern Gang.

Only a little while back, the official Israeli/hasbara talking point du jour was to beat up on Palestinians for incitement, which they defined as naming a street in Ramallah after a terrorist.

So how now do you square this circle?  What grade do we give Moshe Ya'alon's speech in praise of Avraham Stern on our 'incitement report card'?

While we're at it, let's ask how many streets and squares in Israel are named for people who committed atrocities in 1948 and after (I'm thinking right now especially of Rabin Square in Tel Aviv; Rabin led the operation that ethnically cleansed Ramle and Lydda near what is now the Ben Gurion airport, break-their-bones-Rabin in the first intifada. But there's also Shamir, Begin, Sharon and-- does Tzipi Livni's dad have any streets named for him?).  And how many of those streets and squares (I'm thinking of Yaffa, Haifa, Akka) actually originally had Arabic names which were changed and Judaized after 1948?

So by what criteria does one differentiate incitement from patriotism? 

If I had to judge empirically, based on the behavior of the people who speak about terror and incitement the most, I would guess that the two most important criteria are 1) whether the incitement/encomium/street name is in Hebrew or in Arabic and 2) whether the people murdered were Arabs or Jews.  But maybe I'm just a little thick.

P.S. If people find it jarring to see Rabin called a terrorist--that's certainly how Arabs view him. If someone wants to make the argument that he was a democratically-elected leader, then that's fine. That just means you have to talk to Hamas, because Hamas is democratically elected. 

Now they're cooking

Posted: 22 Jun 2010 07:55 AM PDT


Ramat Hasharon municipality announced Monday that it would be printing the Israeli flag on the sleeves of school uniforms in primary and intermediary schools. "We have to do something that will enhance Zionism and national pride," Mayor Itzik Rochberger, who made the decision, told Haaretz.

h/t Ilene Cohen

Today in Palestine: Obama silent as Israel moves to demolish 22 Palestinian houses in Silwan

Posted: 22 Jun 2010 07:47 AM PDT

Land theft and destruction/Ethnic cleansing
6 homes to be demolished in Tubas
Tubas – Ma'an – Two villages in the Jordan Valley, almost completely surrounded by the illegal Roi settlement were targeted by Israeli military planners Monday, when six residents were handed home demolition orders.  The villages of Al-Hadidiya and Khirbet Humsa, in the south of the Tubas municipality, are the latest to be targeted, following the delivery of orders to two other villages in the Tubas municipality - also along the Jordan Valley - giving families ten days to evacuate their lands after declaring the area a "closed military zone."

PA equates Silwan plan with settlement construction
Former Palestinian PM Qureia says plan to demolish 22 east Jerusalem homes and build archeological park in their place part of Israeli efforts to 'Judaize' capital. US State Department: Project undermines trust.,7340,L-3908631,00.html

Erekat: Israel destroying talks by razing Silwan homes
Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat reportedly said Israel's decision to demolish 22 homes in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem reveal Israel seeks to destroy indirect talks, Israeli media reported.  Erekat called on the international community to "halt these dangerous steps" and said that the move "proves that Israel has decided to destroy the indirect talks with the Palestinians," according to Israel's Army Radio.

Abbas appeals to US over Silwan construction plan
Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat says Palestinian president contacted Washington to urge US to take action to cancel King's Garden construction plan in east Jerusalem. 'US must take swift action against this provocation,' Abbas' spokesman says.,7340,L-3909028,00.html

Jerusalem Mayor To Raze Silwan Homes And Peace Process
On Monday, the Jerusalem Municipality approved plans for the expansion of an archaeological site beneath the Palestinian neighbourhood of Silwan. The controversial plan would see up to 88 homes in occupied East Jerusalem bulldozed. Michael Carpenter spoke to Silwan residents.

US 'concerned' over Jerusalem archaeological park plans (AFP)
AFP - The State Department said Monday the United States is "concerned" over plans announced by the Jerusalem municipality to move ahead on a new archaeological park that call for the demolition of Arab homes.*

Palestinian politicians reject Israeli deportation order

JERUSALEM -- Four Palestinian politicians affiliated with the Islamist Hamas party on Monday rejected an Israeli order that they relocate to the West Bank.

Activism/Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment
Demonstrators refuse to be intimidated by military violence

"What solidarity means": a letter from Gilboa Prison
After being allowed to get a pen and a piece of paper, which has been banned for the last three weeks, and after being allowed to get out of my total isolation, it's a moment to write a short letter from my jail (Gilboa). Political prisoner Ameer Makhoul writes from Israeli detention.

Lebanese flotilla expected this weekend; same commandos to stop it
Navy admits to some problems in preparations for May 31 commando takeover of Gaza-bound Turkish ship, but says operation as a whole was successful. 'If we will find terrorists aboard vessels, we will not hesitate to hurt them,' source says.,7340,L-3908573,00.html

Israel Makes Small Change to Gaza Blockade, Brands Lebanese Women's Aid Mission 'Hizbullah', Juan Cole
Edmund Sanders of the LAT puts the matter correctly when he says that Israel's national security government (a subset of key cabinet ministers) took a "small step" Sunday in announcing a further easing of the Israeli blockade of civilian Palestinians in the Gaza strip. The new policy is said to envision the abolition of the list of permitted items in favor of a small list of goods not permitted because they have military uses.

Candle Light Rally In Gaza In Support of Aid Ships
Hundreds of Gaza women held a rally on Monday evening at the Fishermen Port in Gaza City and lit candles in solidarity with the Lebanese Aid Ship, Miriam, and Naji Ali Ship, both filled with humanitarian aid. The activists onboard Miriam Ship are all women and are determined to reach the Gaza shore.

Stop Arming Israel - A Ride for Palestine
The petition calls on HM government to cancel immediately the supply of arms from the United Kingdom to the State of Israel.

Volunteer in Palestine
Since 2002, the International Women's Peace Service in Palestine (IWPS-Palestine) has been documenting and non-violently intervening in human rights abuses carried out by the Israeli military and Israeli settlers in the Occupied West Bank against the Palestinian civilian population. We are the only all women team of internationals working in the Occupied West Bank and we are currently looking for new volunteers to join us on the ground in Palestine.

Israel's feeling of isolation is becoming more pronounced,  Janine Zacharia
No matter how alone Israelis have felt in the past, they have routinely found comfort in unconditional U.S. support. While polls still show strong public support for Israel in the United States, American activists helped organize the Gaza aid flotillas. On Sunday, 500 demonstrators gathered at a port in Oakland, Calif, to prevent the unloading of an Israeli cargo ship.

Anti-Solidarity/Threats Made Against Activists
U.S Warns Americans Against Traveling To Gaza
The U.S State Department warned its citizens against going to the Gaza Strip, and against what it called "infiltrating" into Gaza by participating in solidarity ships or by any other means. The statement was welcomed by Israel.

Lebanon says Gaza-bound ship may sail after Israel threat (Reuters)
Reuters - Lebanon said on Monday it would allow a Gaza-bound aid ship to sail despite warnings from Israel that it reserved the right to use all necessary means to stop ships that try to sail from Lebanon to Gaza.*

Israeli Organization Places Ad for Volunteers To Attack Solidarity Ships

An Israeli security organization placed an advertisement in the ads section in the Israeli newspaper Yediot Aharonot, seeking "women volunteers" to attack and remove women from the Lebanese aid flotilla "Miriam" filled with aid supplies and women peace activists.

Violence and Aggression/War Criminals
Questions remain in Israel shooting
"His wife told me that before her husband left the house that morning, they had discussed taking the kids out someplace fun that afternoon. This was no premeditated attack," she said.

Jewish Settlers Target 'Shared Cities', Mya Guarnieri
Jewish settlers storming the garden of an elderly Palestinian woman may seem like something you would expect to happen in Hebron, not cosmopolitan Tel Aviv. But that is exactly what happened to Zeinab Rachayel, an Arab resident of Tel Aviv's mixed suburb, Yafo.  Rachayel was in her courtyard on a Sunday afternoon when several buses full of settlers from the West Bank arrived, parking nearby. Armed with Israeli flags, young men lined the sidewalk outside her home chanting "this is our land". One by one, they entered her garden, until Rachayel was confronted by dozens of settlers in their late teens and early twenties.  "Another one entered and he said, 'Listen, you're not staying here. Yafo is just for Jews. Get out of Yafo,'" Rachayel says. The men continued to threaten and intimidate her, repeatedly saying that the Arab presence in Yafo is only temporary.

Yeshiva students: We threatened MK Tibi
Two Jerusalem youths admit calling lawmaker and telling him, 'You dirty Arab, your end will come'. Police expect additional arrests.,7340,L-3908410,00.html

Israel's Palestinian Helpers
Exclusive: Leaked documents show PA undermined Turkey's push for UN flotilla probe 
The Palestinian Authority attempted to neutralize a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution condemning Israel's deadly attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, leaked UN and Palestinian Authority documents obtained by The Electronic Intifada show. Israel's 31 May attack killed nine Turkish citizens, including a dual US-Turkish citizen, and injured dozens of others aboard the Mavi Marmara in international waters.

Hamas: PA continues to detain top members

Bethlehem - Ma'an - Palestinian Authority security forces detained two top Hamas affiliates in the West Bank on Monday night, the Islamist movement said.   The two detained were identified as chief of the Hamas-affiliated Al-Quds TV Nawaf Al-Amar and Deputy Nablus Mayor Mahdi Al-Hanbali. A Hamas statement said the two were among 14 Hamas supporters detained by PA forces overnight.

Mass detentions in Dura
Hebron – Ma'an – Israeli forces entered the southern West Bank overnight, detaining more than 20 men, on Tuesday morning, including several members of the same family.  Witnesses said dozens of jeeps entered the Hebron-area town of Dura, breaking into homes and harassing family members of those being detained. The majority of the detentions were in the town and nearby village of Deir Samit. Local officials said there were 26 men taken from their homes.

Israel detains more than 20 Palestinians in Hebron

Hebron, June 22, 2010 (Pal Telegraph) – Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained more than 20 Palestinians today from Dorah town in Hebron, in the West Bank.  Witness said that IOF detained more than 20 citizens after raiding and searching their houses, adding that they beat them and forced them to leave their houses.  The witness added that the majority of the detainees are Al-Haroub family. Two of the detainees were released from t he Israeli jails one week ago.

IOF troops round up 15 Jerusalemites

IOF detained 15 Palestinians in Al-Khalil at dawn Tuesday in an escalation in the search and arrest campaign in the district since the attack on an IOF patrol south of Al-Khalil last week.

Siege/Human Rights/Humanitarian Issues/Restriction of Movement
Industrial Fuel – Needs Vs. Supply – May 23 – June 19

UNRWA chief renews call for lifting of Gaza blockade (AFP)
AFP - The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees on Tuesday issued a fresh call to lift the Gaza blockade for the sake of its residents, saying it was too early to assess Israel's decision to ease the siege.*

Easing of Gaza siege 'not enough'
Israel has said that it will ease the blockage on the Gaza Strip and start allowing trucks carrying goods in. Having faced extreme international pressure after a deadly raid by Israeli soldiers on an aid flotilla heading to Gaza that killed nine activists, Israel has said it will now allow all goods into the territory except for weapons and items deemed to have a military use. The blockade on Gaza has been in place since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip three years ago. But Israel's critics and humanitarian groups say that the easing of the blockade is not enough. Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane reports.

Quartet of Mideast negotiators: Situation in Gaza still 'unacceptable'
The Quartet - the U.S., EU, Russia, and the UN - welcomes Israel's decision to ease its blockade of Gaza, but says more must be done to alleviate pressure on the population there.

UNRWA: Israel's Gaza blockade became a blockade against the UN
UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees calls on Israel to fully lift the blockade on Gaza.

Israel's easing of Gaza blockade doesn't address banking, travel rules
Israel's announcement yesterday of an easing of the Gaza blockade on civilians meets international demands. But the UN and other groups are waiting to see how much actually changes on the ground.

Gaza policy applicable in other parts of West Bank: Barak
"Only what is forbidden will not be allowed to enter, with an emphasis with giving dual use materials such as cement and iron, which are aimed at projects led by the UN Quartet or other international bodies to be able to go, as long as it comes through Ashdod Port," Barak said. "I'd like to remind all of you that the same applies to Ramallah, Jenine and Nablus namely the West Bank when product has to enter the West Bank (it goes through Ashdod)."

Barak: US understands, backs Gaza policy
Defense minister meets with US counterpart, tells him 'Shalit is only Gaza resident in need of aid'.,7340,L-3908618,00.html

Amira Hass / Easing of siege may have negligible effect on Gaza
'During the past three years I lost all that my father managed to build in 50 years, this is the story of all Gazans.'

Gaza smuggler market panics
'The only thing the Gaza market needs now is cement, wood, iron, marble and ceramics. But the profit margin is small and some of these things might break during the transport, so I don't risk bringing them in.' His neighbour, another tunnel owner who asked not to be named, says he is only taking 'special orders' for marble and ceramics. Palestinians and Israelis alike would be happy to see the tunnel trade disappear, the former because it has largely paralysed the legal economy and the latter because the tunnels are used by Hamas to bring in weapons. Israel's decision to switch from a list of permitted items to one of banned goods is widely seen as a response to international criticism over its deadly May 31 seizure of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla. -- AFP

Egypt: Israel wants to 'dump' Gaza on us
Egyptian President Mubarak meets with PA President Abbas to discuss efforts to lift Gaza blockade; Cairo rejects Israeli proposal to make Gaza dependent on it for goods and access.

UNRWA spokesman calls for total end to siege

Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israel must lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip to allow for the full construction of the coastal enclave, an UNRWA spokesman told Reuters on Monday.  "We need to have the blockade fully lifted," said spokesman Christopher Gunness of UNRWA, the United Nations relief agency that looks after Palestinian refugees, speaking to the news agency on the sidelines of a conference in Cairo.

Cabinet Decision on Gaza Siege: Baby Step in Right Direction
The Israeli Security Cabinet's decision to relax some of the stringent restrictions on imports is to be welcome. However, it is only a small step toward the resumption of normal trade and traffic that Gaza so desperately needs.

Goods to arrive in the Gaza Strip
Israel has said it will change the conditions of its siege of the Gaza Strip and allow the import of "civilian" goods. Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reports from Gaza City as the first lorries were about to arrive.

Gaza video game highlights enclave's hazards (AFP)
AFP - An online video game launched on Tuesday lets you play the role of a Gaza student who must negotiate a web of Israeli obstacles in order to attend university in the occupied West Bank -- but you can't win.*

PLO rep in Lebanon: We want humanitarian rights
Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - PLO Ambassador to Lebanon Abdullah Abdullah said proposed civil rights for Palestinians refugees in Lebanon are "purely humanitarian rights relating to daily life, with no relation to politics," news agencies reported on Monday.

MIDDLE EAST: Palestinian refugee factbox/timeline

MADRID Tuesday, June 22, 2010 (IRIN) - International attention has been focused on the Palestinian question in recent weeks in the wake of Israeli military actions against marine activists trying to deliver aid to the Gaza Strip and recent Israeli moves to ease the blockade. IRIN takes a fresh look at the background.

Political Developments/Flotilla Fallout
Who Won?
The cabinet's decision Sunday to ease the blockade on the Gaza Strip means, for the most part, an end to the siege on Hamas' rule in the territory. And it's more than a victory on points for Hamas and the Turkish government. It's a genuine achievement for what is described as the muqawama (the resistance ) - the radical alliance of Iran, Syria, Hamas, Hezbollah, and recently also Turkey.

Israel Eases Gaza Blockade: Gains for Hamas and Turkey? ( - Hamas and Turkey may have gained; the U.S., Israel and moderate Arab regimes have been set back. But the real loser is the strategy of dividing the region between moderates and radicals.*

Barak urges UN to shelve plan to probe Gaza flotilla raid
Defense Minister: Israel will hold Lebanon accountable for any blockade-busting ships it sends to Gaza, any violence that erupts as a result.

U.N. Human Rights Council Approves International Committee To Probe Flotilla Attack

The United Nations Human Rights Council voted for forming an international committee to probe the deadly Israeli attack against the Freedom Flotilla on May 31, leading to dozens of casualties among human rights activists. Israel is demanding the shelving of the investigation.

Turkey opposition gains ground amid eastward drift (AP)
AP - Turkey rallied behind Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in his blistering condemnation of Israel after its commando raid on an aid ship to Gaza.*

"Storm in pajamas": Maariv reports US concerned by age of Flotilla investigation commissioners
The makings of a farce:  [Commission member Shabtai] Rosen's long list of credentials did not help endear him to the Americans, who were embarrassed by the photograph of him reading material while wearing pajamas with his Filipino by his side. The photograph also got him trouble with the immigration authorities who decided to raid his home to check the legality of the two foreign workers who assist him. They turned out to be legally employed.

Israel's British Helper: Blair: Help Gazans, free Shalit
Quartet envoy to Middle East visits Kerem Shalom crossing to inspect change in Israeli policy after government decides to ease siege on Strip. Soldier kidnapped by Hamas should be released as soon as possible and without preconditions, he says.,7340,L-3909006,00.html

Israel's British Helper:  Maariv: Netanyahu aides say they've decided that Blair lead Gaza Hasbara

Israel introduces: Spokesman Tony Blair, [Sub-headline] Israel's policy has a new media representative: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who has enlisted his vast experience and international standing to explain the decision to ease the the Gaza blockade;  And media whiz Netanyahu? He continues to hide behind the curtains

Israel's British Helper: Tony Blair says yes to Israeli obsession with control + supervision
If anyone failed to understand the ever-so-careful language in the Quartet statement issued on Monday [following the Israeli cabinet pronouncements on Sunday] Tony Blair spelled it out perfectly clearly in an interview published in part on Tuesday [the rest is promised for later in the week] with the Jerusalem Post's David Horovitz and Herb Keinon.

Other News

EU and Israel collaborate on cleaner, deadlier aircraft engines
BRUSSELS (IPS) -- European Union subsidies earmarked for reducing air travel's contribution to climate change may help develop deadlier warplanes than those already found in the world's arsenals, Brussels officials have admitted. Some 1.6 billion euros ($2 billion) has been allocated to the EU's Clean Sky project, which aims to develop aircraft engines that emit half as much carbon dioxide as those now in use.

Jerusalem: Haredim attack vehicle over Electra stickers
Dozens of ultra-Orthodox in Mea Shearim pelt vehicle with stones because it had stickers of company they claim owns Jaffa complex where excavation works are taking place; women passengers rescued unharmed.,7340,L-3908682,00.html

Rogue Israeli agents sent Pollard to spy on U.S., ambassador claims
In radio interview, Michael Oren apparently contradicts Netanyahu's admission that Israel stole U.S. secrets as part of officially sanctioned operation.

EU rubber-stamping grants for Israeli war industry
BRUSSELS (IPS) - A leading Israeli supplier of warplanes used to kill and maim civilians in Gaza is in the running for two new scientific research grants from the European Union. Israel's attacks on Gaza in late 2008 and 2009 provided its air force with an opportunity to experiment with state-of-the-art pilotless drones such as the Heron.

The Israeli Media's Flotilla Fail, Max Blumenthal
If the raid of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was a disaster for the Israel Defense Forces, its aftermath demonstrated an equally bewildering performance by the Israeli media. The IDF Spokesman's Office churned out one misleading claim after another, each one more implausible than the next, seeking to implant in the public's mind a version of events that bore little relation to reality. To a degree, this was to be expected; but it was startling to see how some of Israel's most respected reporters lined up to serve as military stenographers, barely challenging the IDF's rapidly changing versions of events. IDF claims about the flotilla passengers' links to Al Qaida, anti-Semitic statements shouted at the Israeli Navy, and their terrorist intentions were eagerly broadcast by the Israeli media without a second thought. When independent reporters forced the IDF to retract or "clarify" all of these claims, Israeli news outlets refused to correct their errors, or covered them up without acknowledgment.

Gaza: State of siege
The only way out of these failing policies is to actively seek Palestinian reconciliation, rather than veto it.  It did not take long for the optimism generated by Israel's decision to ease the blockade of Gaza to evaporate. The intention of moving from a system in which Israel states what it is prepared to allow in, to one in which it explicitly states what it would ban, was to increase the flow of goods into Gaza. Sweets, chocolate, nutmeg, vinegar, toys, stationery, mattresses and towels have no conceivable dual military use for the Hamas-run enclave. But until recently, dangerous spices such as sage and suspicious sweets such as halva were banned, in an exercise that was always designed to be a form of collective punishment for 1.5 million Gazans. The end of such an odious and self-defeating policy is obviously welcome, except that yesterday it emerged that the new list of forbidden materials could be thousands of items long. The real shortages in Gaza – medical instruments, aluminium, steel and cement – may not be addressed. A blockade that the US, Britain and the EU all insist is "unacceptable and unsustainable" could thus be set to continue.

A sign of the times on Route 443
Col. (Res.) Shaul Arieli sent around this photo today. It was taken on the infamous Route 443, just off the exit to Hirbet al-Masbah. The sign reads:  Israeli, watch out, if you've come this far, you've lost your way!

Echoes From The Warsaw Ghetto In Gaza
Gazing at letters that her grandmother wrote from the Warsaw Ghetto before she was killed , Deputy Director of the global organization "Jewish Voice for Peace", Cecilie Surasky, discusses Israel's "anti-Jewish" crimes and the inescapable comparison between the sufferings of Gazans and the gradual crushing of Jewish life in the Nazi ghettos in the period that led to the Final Solution . More significantly, the Jewish activist for peace reveals and explores the relationship between Jewish collective trauma and Israel 's aggression

Israel Deserves No Thanks, Joharah Baker for MIFTAH    
It seems to be an effective tactic utilized by Israel over the years of its occupation of the Palestinians, effective mainly because it still apparently works. Israel has always maintained a tight hold over Palestinians, namely in the West Bank, Gaza and east Jerusalem, the question of its occupation and oppression of the population undisputed. However, within this system of subordination, Israel has allowed for minor liberties, which are usually taken for granted among free peoples. With the Palestinians, however, they are afforded as bonuses, good merits for when the Palestinians behave, or when the world starts to catch on to Israel's oppressive regime and demands that something is done.

The settlers' one-state argument, or ploy, boulos
Apart from the small point that all Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories are illegal according to international law and every single settler living there is ipso facto a law breaker--something the author conveniently omits to mention--this piece by Hagai Segal at Ynet is actually a round-about argument for a one-state solution...

Yediot's Shaked: Israel can't turn into a fascist state — it lacks a dictator — but that won't stop it from trying
When do you realize that fascism — an overused word, so let's use it — has already finished knocking on the door and then breaking it down, and is now sitting in your country with its feet on the table and treating some of its residents as a light snack?  Perhaps when extreme right wing hooligans march down Ibn Gvirol Street in Tel Aviv, curse and attack people sitting in cafés who have not done anything to them except for sitting there, as happened on Saturday two weeks ago?  Perhaps it is when MK Anastasia Michaeli takes time off between births to lunge like an irritable anaconda that has spotted a mouse in the grass at MK Hanin Zuabi in an attempt to throttle her microphone with her bare hands, and then says: "I have a right to say… she has no right to speak" — this, incidentally, being the precise definition of democracy in the Yisrael Beiteinu dictionary?

Mike Huckabee New Yorker Interview: Talks Politics, Religion, Israel and Homosexuality

On Palestine in 2008: "I have to be careful saying this, because people get really upset--there's really no such thing as a Palestinian," Huckabee said during his campaign for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008.

Silence of the Liberals, Vermont and Israel, THOMAS H. NAYLOR
Once again, with the full knowledge and complicity of the White House, the Israeli military machine has engaged in an illegal act of terrorism consistent with its long standing genocidal aims against the Palestinians. This time the Israeli's heinous crime took the form of piracy and murder on the high seas directed at an unarmed flotilla of ships loaded with food and medicine bound for besieged Palestinians in Gaza.

After 8 years, why hasn't Israel responded to the Arab peace initiative?, Akiva Eldar
Few Israelis know what is written in the first pan-Arabic and pan-Islamic document that proposes recognizing Israel and exchanging hostile relations for normalization.

Grandpa Bibi's responsibility, Akiva Eldar
An Israeli leader who gives up on progress in the negotiations toward a two-state solution is dooming his grandchildren, and perhaps his children too, to a binational, one-state solution.

Creative ideas threatened by continued settlement building
Ghassan Khatib - Bitter Lemons - Any settlers who choose to stay in a Palestinian state must understand that the land that they are illegally using now does not belong to them but to Palestinians who are likely still alive and hold the deeds.

An Israel Beyond Zionism?, LUDWIG WATZAL
Jeremy Milgram is a member of "Rabbis for Human Rights" and a participant in the inter-religious dialogue in Israel. He lives in Jerusalem.

Three dead in Iraq unrest (AFP)
AFP - Bombers killed two bodyguards of a top Iraqi civil servant and an anti-Qaeda militia commander in separate attacks on Tuesday, security officials said.*

Monday: 1 Iraqi Killed, 27 Wounded
At least one Iraqi was killed and 27 more were wounded in the latest violence. Riots spread to Nasariya were residents attacked police guarding the province's government compound. Also, Turkish troops are amassing at the border during operations against the PKK.

Iraq power outages provoke protests

Angry residents take to the streets in southern cities of Nasiriyah and Basra.

Iraq electricity minister offers to quit after bloody demos
BAGHDAD — Iraqi Electricity Minister Karim Wahid offered to resign on Monday after a wave of bloody street protests demanding his dismissal over harsh power rationing in the scorching summer heat.  "I declare with courage that I offer to resign from my post," Wahid told state television. "I am ready to do whatever the prime minister (Nuri al-Maliki) wants me to do in order to serve the Iraqi people."  Government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said Maliki would take no decision on Wahid's resignation offer until after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.  "The council of ministers will discuss Karim Wahid's offer to resign on Tuesday morning," Dabbagh told AFP.

Iraq cabinet mulls response to bloody power protests (AFP)

AFP - Iraq's cabinet was meeting on Tuesday to thrash out a response to bloody protests over power rationing that have prompted fears of a summer of discontent and an offer to resign from the electricity minister.*

New killings in campaign against Iraqi ex-insurgents (Reuters)
Reuters - Two senior members of a government-backed Iraqi militia of former Sunni insurgents were killed on Tuesday, the latest blow in what appears to be a concerted campaign to undermine Iraq's fragile security gains.*

U.S. says cannot force Iraqis to agree government (Reuters)

Reuters - Iraqi politicians must agree among themselves on forming a new government and the United States cannot tell them what to do, the U.S. ambassador to Baghdad said on Monday.*

Israel Drumming For War Against Hezbollah
from The International Middle East Media Center - IMEMC News by Saed Bannoura
The Lebanese paper, al-Mustaqbal, stated that France has information from different sources, mainly from Washington, revealing that Israel intends to wage a war against Lebanon in order to strike the Hezbollah party.

Lebanese women, unequal under the law
On May 18, Samira Souedian, the Lebanese widow of an Egyptian, was refused the right to pass Lebanese citizenship to her four children by the Lebanese Court of Appeal, this despite previously winning her case in a district court in June 2009. Women protesters took to the streets of Beirut in support of Samira's cause.

Hezbollah Condemns Assault on Sudanese Workers in Lebanon
21/06/2010 Hezbollah condemned on Monday the assault by security forces on Sudanese citizens and workers in Lebanon during their gathering a few days ago in the Ouzai' region, expressing its solidarity with them in their ordeal caused by racial practices.  In a statement it released, Hezbollah expressed its appreciation for the Sudanese people and respect for its leadership, renewing its denunciation of the superior practices that targeted Sudanese workers in Lebanon.   Hezbollah concluded its statement by calling for an investigation into the incident, demanding that its responsible be held accountable.

U.S. and other World News
Supreme Court Affirms Ban on Aiding Groups Tied to Terror
The court ruled 6-3 Monday that the government may prohibit all forms of aid to designated terrorist groups, even if the support consists of training and advice about entirely peaceful and legal activities.

Group: Former President Carter could be prosecuted for monitoring fair elections in Lebanon
The US Supreme Court endorsed Monday a broad reading of the law criminalizing "material support" to terrorism, a statute that critics argue targets legitimate free speech.  In a six to three vote, the highest US court sided with the government and found that an NGO could face prosecution for providing non-terror-related support, including rights training, to US-designated terror groups.

"Nuclear Diplomacy": Brazil and Iran. Our Motives and the Bullying Trio, Tomás Rosa Bueno
Despite what the experts of barefoot diplomacy [1] never stop repeating, there is nothing even remotely anti-American in the Brazilian position on Iran: our motives, unlike those of the bullying trio (USA, France, United Kingdom), are clear, transparent and openly stated several times.  We support the peaceful development of nuclear energy. We do not believe there is any evidence that Iran has a secret nuclear-weapons program. Defending Iran, we are defending our own right to master the full nuclear-fuel cycle, we are defending our right to develop our own enrichment technology, we are defending our right to build our own reactors that will move the nuclear submarines that will defend our sovereignty. No more,  no less. We want for Iran just what we want for ourselves.

Iran bars 2 nuclear inspectors over report
Tehran accuses the two IAEA inspectors of manipulating data and leaking information to news media. The U.N. atomic agency rejects the accusations, saying it stands by the two experts and the report.  Iran barred two nuclear inspectors from further examining its facilities, accusing them of manipulating data and leaking information to the news media. Monday's announcement was the latest sign of tension between the Islamic Republic and the United Nations' watchdog agency.,0,6488221.story

Saudi Arabia nails murderer's body to cross
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia executed two murderers including a Yemeni whose body was nailed to a cross after he was convicted of killing a fellow countryman and his daughter, the Interior Ministry said on Monday.Shaaban al-Nasheri was beheaded for shooting dead Dhayeh al-Manbahi after barging into his family home in the southwestern town of Jazan.

Saudi Arabia backs US campaign against Iran
Saudi Arabia's Shiite minority is concentrated in the "Eastern Province," across the Persian Gulf from Iran. This province contains most of Saudi Arabia's oil resources. Shiite opposition thus potentially threatens to disrupt Saudi Arabia's crucial oil production. Saudi Shiites are socially oppressed, facing restrictions on their religious practices and, since the 1980s, on their employment in the oil industry.

Erdogan can withstand Western Media Smear Campaign
At the time of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip in late 2008, the Western media and its politicians were heaping praise on Turkey and upholding it as a shining example of how Islam and democracy can co-exist.  This praise has now evaporated and turned instead into an intensive media and diplomatic campaign to discredit Turkish PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The American right, and many European newspapers, are intent on re-packaging Erdogn as 'hostile' to the West's middle Eastern agenda and interests in the region.

Syria's new alliances, Helena Cobban
A massive, burgundy-colored banner hung in the arched main drag of Damascus's Souq al-Hamidieh on June 7, lauding the Turkish NGO that was a key participant in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla that just one week earlier had been lethally attacked by Israeli commandos in international waters. The banner also thanked Turkey's government and people for their support of the 1.5 million people of besieged Gaza.  This spot is the premier messaging real estate for the big trading houses of Damascus and their allies in the Syrian government. The Syrian government's warm relationship with Turkey is not, of course, new. It is one that President Bashar al-Asad and Foreign Minister Walid Mouallem have worked on for many years now. From 2003 to 2008, when the Bush White House was working hard to encircle and isolate Syria, with a definite view to overthrowing the Asad regime, Damascus's strengthening tie to NATO member Turkey provided what regime insiders have described as "almost literally, a lifeline for us."

My Take: How a 'Muslim Woodstock' turns crisis into opportunity
But for all the differences between 1969's three days of peace and music and Saturday's Takin' it to the Streets festival in Chicago—a daylong Muslim-led arts and music festival—there is some truth to the comparison.  The differences: high on drugs vs. high on dkihr—a prayer that involves reciting the names of God—and free love vs. free tai chi lessons.  The similarity: As Woodstock defined the hippie generation, so might Takin' it to the Streets 2010, organized by the Chicago-based group Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), define a generation of Muslim Americans.

Rieff deorientalizes the discourse

Posted: 22 Jun 2010 07:34 AM PDT

David Rieff on Paul Berman, at the National Interest:

For all of Berman's self-infatuation—his book is shot through with braggadocious formulations such as "I have pondered" this, "disentangled" that and "discovered" the other—he is not quite vulgar enough to accuse these Western writers of what in some right-wing circles in the United States, the UK and France is now routinely called dhimmitude (a neologism of French origin that denotes an attitude of surrender, concession and appeasement to Muslim demands). But his bill of indictment amounts to pretty much the same thing. Following in the line of the French New Philosopher Pascal Bruckner, whom he cites often and praises with a fulsomeness verging on absurdity, Berman insists that, where Islamism is concerned, Western intellectuals like Buruma and Garton Ash can "no longer reliably tell black from white." Berman tends to quote others when he wants to deliver his harshest judgments—an act of "ventriloquism" that, for a man obsessed with the need for intellectual courage, is, well, not as courageous as it might be. And we see this rhetorical tactic employed again and again, as when he refers to the German writer Ulrike Ackermann's denunciation of Garton Ash as a "fellow traveler" of Ramadan.

[….] Berman himself concedes that Ramadan has condemned Islamism's violent strain, but in effect insists that this condemnation is not credible because, in Ramadan's The Roots of the Muslim Renewal, he exculpates his uncle and shifts the blame onto Sayyid Qutb, who became one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood only after al-Banna's assassination in 1949 at the hands of the Egyptian secret police, or even onto Qutb's disciples. Berman also remarks in passing that Ramadan's project is not just to preserve but also to "adapt" his grandfather's ideas. What Berman refuses to engage with is the possibility that there is more to these ideas than Jew hatred and Islamist totalitarianism. If that is indeed the case, then Berman is right, but apart from pointing to Ramadan's whitewashing of his grandfather, Berman offers no real evidence that his subject's condemnation of terrorism and anti-Semitism, and his embrace of democratic pluralism in Europe, are simply a smoke screen.

And sanitizing the biographies of great leaders (and, for that matter, great philosophers) from the past hardly began with Tariq Ramadan or is restricted to the Muslim world. We speak, and correctly so, of adapting Woodrow Wilson's ideas about global affairs to the present, without believing them to be invalidated—and thus demanding of rejection—because Woodrow Wilson was one of the most racist figures in all of American history and is also responsible for initiating some of the more sanguinary U.S. imperial ventures in the Caribbean. In any case, Berman does not really even have the courage of his convictions on the matter.

Speaking of Berman,

Posted: 22 Jun 2010 07:28 AM PDT

I have failed to note Stephen F. Cohen's tackle of Paul Berman for affecting knowledge he doesn't have. The dispute concerns Nikolai Bukharin, a Soviet Marxist who was purged and tried and executed under Stalin. Bukharin's alleged confession to Soviet authorities was the inspiration for Arthur Koestler's famous book Darkness at Noon. In a piece on Koestler for the New Republic, Berman clucked that Koestler got "every little detail right." Not so fast. Cohen:

Scholars, myself among them, have long since presented evidence that Bukharin did not really confess in that tightly controlled, terror-ridden courtroom but instead waged a determined verbal duel with Stalin's prosecutor to the inexorable end. The evidence includes eyewitness accounts by a British observer and a New York Times correspondent who were in the courtroom, uncensored partial transcripts of the trial, and the conclusion of the Soviet judge who reviewed the original records and exonerated Bukharin in 1988. ..

Writing in 1940, Koestler could not have known all this, but Berman should have. Still more surprising, considering his expressed interest in "prison writing … as a pillar of Russian literature," Berman seems entirely unaware of the four book-length manuscripts Bukharin wrote in Lubyanka Prison while being "prepared" for the trial—an autobiographical novel, two volumes of philosophical and political commentary, and a thick volume of poetry. Each in its own way makes clear that he did not "confess" because of his corrupting ideas.

Bukharin's prison manuscripts were retrieved from Stalin's secret archive only in the early 1990s, so, again, Koestler did not know them. Berman, however, should have, all having now been published in English

In his response to Cohen, Berman basically shuffles his feet, and admits he is busted; then tries to say it is because he has gone after Tariq Ramadan!


Posted: 21 Jun 2010 07:39 PM PDT

"The Responsibility of Intellectuals," a three-part program, aired this weekend on the NPR show, "To the Best of our Knowledge". Although the program focuses more on American power in the world generally, the issues raised have additional resonance for listeners attuned to American foreign and domestic policies related to Israel/Palestine. Interviews with Noam Chomsky and academics who question the exploitation of anthropologists in the war on terror juxtapose with a later one with Christopher Hitchens -- in which he decries the political correctness of the Left. 

In the close of the interview of Noam Chomsky, he raised the subject of NPR censorship:

" fact on paper, since we're on NPR, the co-host of All Things Considered Robert Siegel wrote that I'm the one person they'll never allow on their prime-time program." 

The host of the show read a rebuttal by Siegel in which he denied having said such a thing or having the power at NPR to ban anyone and threw in some colorful remarks about conspiracy theorists along with a harrowing account of an interview with Chomsky. As a commenter on the site's facebook page notes, there is at least one reference to Siegel's public statements about Chomsky in print, from the Duke Chronicle, 1994:

I was surprised to hear National Public Radio's Robert Siegel, on his own, volunteer that independent thinkers like Noam Chomsky are not welcome on NPR's news and discussion programs. 

It was the last day of a book tour for the co-host of "All Things Considered," and he was signing copies of "The NPR Interviews," which he edited, at Durham's Regulator book store. He was accompanied by WUNC General Manager Bill Davis.

After the first wave of books had been signed, I approached Siegel and expressed concern over the lack of range in political commentary on NPR. I explained that I felt that the public interest was not very fully explored, and that an "inside the beltway" mentality and bias prevails. Siegel made a token statement of agreement, saying that it would be worthwhile to find more voices, but quickly limited it by saying, "However, we wouldn't be interested in airing the views of such media and political critics as Noam Chomsky."'

So, Siegel is on record about Chomsky in paper as quoted in the Duke Chronicle. In his rebuttal, Siegel claims that any editorial power he had at the network ended in the 80's. Siegel's story about his interview from hell with Chomsky years ago might explain why he personally might refuse ever to interview him again, but it wouldn't account for why he would say in 1994 that "we wouldn't be interested in airing the views of such media and political critics as Noam Chomsky."

Siegel also disclaimed that Chomsky is banned from NPR by mentioning Chomsky's  recent interview by Lourdes Garcia-Navarro. But in that piece, Garcia-Navarro, who is stationed in Israel/Palestine, spoke to Chomsky as the subject of a news story-- he had been denied entry to the West Bank by Israel. That news item was covered by several networks. It wasn't as if NPR gave any airtime to Chomsky's views. 

Note that Siegel doesn't say here that Chomsky is the "the one person they'll never allow on their prime-time program" (Chomsky's line). Rather, Chomsky is either the one identified intellectual among several whom Siegel considers uacceptable as NPR commenters or the personification of what Siegel considers too fringe for NPR listeners. Still, after decades of hearing NPR interviewing right-wing nutjobs for "balance" in its commentary, one can't be surprised if Chomsky took Siegel's words at Duke personally -- especially when it took making the news to finally get a call from NPR.

Israeli ad looks for help sabotaging upcoming flotilla

Posted: 21 Jun 2010 06:44 PM PDT

The following ad appeared in the Yediot Aharonot ad section -

flotillaadThe ad is translated as:

Security Organiztion
with great physical strength
& motivation
to evacuate women from the aid flotilla
[sent by] the Hezbollah to Gaza.

The activity is on a volunteer basis


Please leave your contact info in voice box 076-5400116

The name of the organization is not mentioned, and the voicebox appears to be set up specifically for this purpose, not connected with a longstanding organization.

Dena Shunra is a full time Hebrew<>English translator living and working in the United States.

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