Jun 24, 2010

Mark Weber > Tablet Magazine

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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Is Benjamin Netanyahu Rational?


Is Benjamin Netanyahu Rational?
Philip Giraldi 

... The neoconservatives frequently complain that Islam is not a "religion of peace," but the Old Testament is also a bloody book, including as it does many accounts of the Israelites massacring their enemies with God's blessing. There are also elements of the Jewish religion that are dark and lend themselves to a mindset that accepts one standard for Jews and another for gentiles ... Based on recent evidence, lying to the gentiles certainly appears to be the hallmark of the Israeli government response to the Gaza flotilla massacre. The Israelis have fabricated information and even two videos, contrived a manifestly false narrative, and lied at every step along the way 

More College Grads Are Returning Home to Live
Baltimore Sun 

... A survey of last year's college graduation class showed that 80 percent moved back home after getting their diplomas, up significantly from the 63 percent in 2006. The survey of 2,000 young people showed that seven in ten said they would live at home until they found a job ... The 14.7 percent unemployment rate for those ages 20 to 24 remains double what it was in 2007, recent Bureau of Labor Statistics figures show, and is 50 percent higher than that of the overall population. 

Obama Pushes Diversity in the Federal Courts
McClatchy newspapers 

President Barack Obama is appointing women and minorities to federal judgeships at an unprecedented rate, and nowhere is the evidence more clear than in the Golden State ... Obama has already done more to diversify the Supreme Court than any other president by choosing two women for the high court. His first choice, Sonia Sotomayor, is the first person of Latino heritage to serve on the Supreme Court. ... Of Obama's nominees, 43 percent are women and minorities, a much higher rate than any of his predecessors, according to an analysis by Alliance for Justice, a liberal advocacy group. 

Multiracial US Becoming Even More Diverse
The Associated Press 

The nation's minority population is steadily rising and now makes up 35 percent of the United States, advancing an unmistakable trend that could make minorities the new American majority by midcentury. As white baby boomers age past their childbearing years, younger Hispanic parents are having children -- and driving U.S. population growth ... Currently four states -- Hawaii, New Mexico, California and Texas -- as well as the District of Columbia have minority populations that exceed 50 percent. 

The Lobby's Blend of Paranoia and Belligerence 
Mike Carlton -- Sydney Morning Herald (Australia) 

It is a ferocious beast, the Jewish lobby. Write just one sentence even mildly critical of Israel and it lunges from its lair, fangs bared ... It's standard operating procedure for the lobby to hurl accusations of anti-Semitism with that peculiar Israeli blend of paranoia and belligerence ... None of this is accidental. The Israel lobby, worldwide, is orchestrated in Jerusalem by a department in the Prime Minister's office with the rather Orwellian name of the Ministry for Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs. Less than 24 hours after the attack on the Mavi Marmara, the ministry hit the internet with "important talking points" for Jews around the world, the first of which was - surprisingly - that "the Palestinian people are not under blockade". 

The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment
Peter Beinart -- The New York Review of Books 

... Morally, American Zionism is in a downward spiral. If the leaders of groups like AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations do not change course, they will wake up one day to find a younger, Orthodox-dominated, Zionist leadership whose naked hostility to Arabs and Palestinians scares even them, and a mass of secular American Jews who range from apathetic to appalled. ... In the world of AIPAC, the Holocaust analogies never stop, and their message is always the same: Jews are licensed by their victimhood to worry only about themselves. ... This obsession with victimhood lies at the heart of why Zionism is dying among America's secular Jewish young. 

Israel's Cult of Victimhood 
Jonathan Cook 

... The Holocaust's lesson for most Israelis is not a universal one that might inspire them to oppose racism, or fanatical dictators or the bullying herd mentality that can all too quickly grip nations, or even state-sponsored genocide. Instead, Israelis have been taught to see in the Holocaust a different message: that the world is plagued by a unique and ineradicable hatred of Jews, and that the only safety for the Jewish people is to be found in the creation of a super-power Jewish state that answers to no one. Put bluntly, Israel's motto is: only Jewish power can prevent Jewish victimhood ... The lesson the rest of us need to draw from the deadly commando raid is that the world can no longer afford to indulge these delusions. 

What Price Afghanistan? 
Patrick J. Buchanan 

... Eight years ago, the Taliban seemed finished. Since then, we have poured in scores of thousands of troops, spent $300 billion, lost 1,000 soldiers and seen thousands more wounded. Yet, the Taliban have never been stronger or operated more broadly ... To succeed in creating in Afghanistan a country where the Taliban have been driven permanently from power and there is no chance of al-Qaida's returns, we need a government in Kabul and an Afghan army and police that can follow up U.S. military gains by taking control, protecting the population and providing social reforms. We don't have that government. We have, instead, a regime that has no confidence we will stay the course and is thus dealing behind our backs with the enemy who is killing our troops. 

Helen Thomas: An Appreciation 
Paul Craig Roberts 

... Any other government that murdered thousands of civilians in other countries, as Israel does routinely in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank, would have its entire government and military on trial before the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague. Israelis have no worst enemy than their own government. Every time the rest of the world tries to hold the Israeli government accountable for its crimes, the US vetoes the UN resolution. America has become the enabler of the zionist-hijacked Israeli government. And the Israeli government knows it. 

Grim Outlook for the Global Economy 
Eric Margolis 

... The United States, 25 percent of the global economy, can't rein in its spending or cut debt. President George Bush inherited a surplus and went on to create the biggest deficit in US history (excepting WWII). Now, President Barack Obama is making matters worse by piling on more unsustainable debt ... Most alarmingly for resource exporters like Canada and Australia, Roubini warns China has massively overspent on infrastructure, exporting its excess capacity. Beijing has "front-loaded 15 years of capital spending," says Roubini. 

Who Are We Defending?: Cut Military Spending 
B. Friedman and C. Preble - Los Angeles Times 

... The truth is that the U.S. no longer has a "defense" budget. The adjective is wrong. Our military forces' size long ago ceased to have any meaningful attachment to the requirements of protecting Americans ... Our military spending is nearly equal to half the world's, and our allies spend most of the other half. Russia, China, North Korea, Syria and Iran collectively spend about a fourth of what we do on defense ... Our deficit problem is an opportunity to surrender the pretension that we are the world's indispensable nation, preventing instability, shaping the international system and guiding history. We should be content to settle for being the big kid on the block that looks out for itself and occasionally helps friends in a bad spot. 

Stop 'Thriving Holocaust Industry,' Says German Legislator
Ynet News (Israel) 

"Stop cooperation with the state of Jewish scoundrels", "Don't give in to the thriving Holocaust industry." These statements were not said in the Tehran parliament, but in the German city of Dresden, during a parliament meeting in the state of Saxony. Leader of the extreme right National Democratic Party (NPD) Holger Apfel stirred up a storm in the parliament on Thursday when he carried a speech titled "no to cooperation with scoundrel countries - and end cooperation between Saxony and Israel." 

In Ireland, a Call For End of `Cynical Holocaust Exploitation' by Israel
The Irish Times (Ireland) 

David Norris (Ind.) [member of the Seanad or Senate of the Irish Republic] called on the Israeli authorities to end their "cynical, heartless and contemptible exploitation of the Holocaust for their own political purposes. This lets us all down, including those tragic victims of Auschwitz and all the other terrible camps." Mr Norris said he utterly condemned the recent murderous assault on the Gaza-bound peace flotilla, "where, in what was the equivalent of Bloody Sunday for the Israelis, a group almost equal in numbers of innocent, peaceful protesters against an outrage against humanity in Gaza were slaughtered by Israeli commandos." 

Arizona Lawmaker Takes Aim at Automatic US Citizenship 
The Associated Press 

Emboldened by passage of the nation's toughest law against illegal immigration, the Arizona politician who sponsored the measure now wants to deny U.S. citizenship to children born in this country to undocumented parents. Legal scholars laugh out loud at Republican state Sen. Russell Pearce's proposal and warn that it would be blatantly unconstitutional, since the 14th Amendment guarantees citizenship to anyone born in the U.S. But Pearce brushes aside such concerns ... The 14th Amendment, adopted in 1868 in the aftermath of the Civil War, reads: "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside." 

New York Hotel Pioneers Birth Tourism
Breaking Travel News (Britain) 

A New York hotel is staking its claim to have invented a new hospitality niche ? birth tourism. The Marmara Manhattan offers "an exclusive package for new mothers that wish to give birth in the USA", with the additional bonus of the newborn child gaining US citizenship. The hotel, which is part of the Turkish hospitality chain, exploits the 14th amendment to the US constitution, which states that all children born on American soil "are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside". 

Joe Biden: In Israel's Service
Jeffrey Blankfort 

... Like scores of other US politicians who have traded their political souls for access to the seemingly bottomless checking accounts of Israel's American supporters, Biden has become a poster boy for "dual loyalty." Given that he has done this as a member of Congress and continues to do so while now a heartbeat from the White House should probably qualify him for a treason trial and a cell next to Jonathan Pollard ... Biden stated, "When I was a young senator, I used to say, 'If I were a Jew I'd be a Zionist.' I am a Zionist," he said. "You don't have to be a Jew to be a Zionist." 

Genes Set Jews Apart, Study Finds
Los Angeles Times 

Jews of European descent living on opposite sides of the globe are more closely related to one another than they are to their fellow countrymen, according to the largest study ever conducted of what it means genetically to be Jewish. Ashkenazis, the primary group descended from European Jews, are all as closely related as fourth or fifth cousins would be, the study found ... They [Jews] are not different enough to be considered a separate race, as some experts have argued, he added, but definitely are a "distinct population" -- the result, presumably, of cultural separation down through thousands of years. 

Irving's File on the Strange Franke-Gricksch Documents 
David Irving 

An index to documents on the 1943 "Franke-Gricksch Report," including 1945 British Army documents on the genuine Franke-Gricksch report, a summary of the genuine report, entries from the postwar diary of SS officer Maximilian von Herff, a facsimile of the alleged extract of the Franke-Gricksch report made public by Lipman. 

Pearl Harbor: Case Closed?
Theodore O'Keefe - Institute for Historical Review 

... Two recent books argue that Admiral Husband Kimmel, in particular, was gravely wronged by his superiors, not merely after December 7, 1941, but in the weeks and months before. One, Robert Stinnett's Day of Deceit, is radically revisionist, claiming to abound in new evidence for a conspiracy involving the president, the war and navy departments, the army chief of staff, and the chief of naval operations, among many other participants. The other, Michael Gannon's Pearl Harbor Betrayed, makes no explicit accusations of conspiracy, nor does it seriously fault America's confrontational diplomacy vis-a-vis Japan in the years leading up to the attack. Odd as it might seem, this reviewer found the second the more satisfying book. 

Franklin Roosevelt, the Myth of Pearl Harbor, and the U.N.
John V. Denson 

A book entitled The Pearl Harbor Myth: Rethinking the Unthinkable, by George Victor and published by Potomac Books Inc. of Washington, D.C. is well researched and gives a very clear picture of how and why the Pearl Harbor myth was created. ... Based on a good summary of the up-to-date research the author, who is an approving admirer of Roosevelt, concludes that Roosevelt deliberately provoked the attack and that he and his key military and administrative advisers clearly knew, well in advance, that the Japanese were going to attack both Pearl Harbor and the Philippines. 

Remains of First King of England's Sister Found in German Cathedral
The Guardian (Britain) 

Bones offer insight into royal life of Eadgyth, whose brother Athelstan married off to German king in 929, say scientists. She ate lots of fish, rode frequently, may have suffered from a disease or an eating disorder at ten and regularly moved around the chalky uplands of southern England, presumably as she followed her regal father around his kingdom. Analysis of remains found in a German cathedral have not only confirm they belonged to the granddaughter of the English king Alfred the Great but also given an insight into the life and times of a Saxon princess. 

Israelis Feel Growing Isolation 
The Associated Press 

... Israel seems to be losing the battle against the country's isolation worldwide. That isolation was exacerbated after Israel's May 31 naval raid on a flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza spiraled into violence that left nine Turkish activists dead in a clash with the troops. Ecuador, South Africa and Turkey recalled their ambassadors and Nicaragua broke off diplomatic relations following the raid. Vietnam put off a visit by Israel's president, Greece suspended military exercises and Swedish dockworkers launched a weeklong boycott of Israeli ships and goods. 

The Deadly Closing of the Israeli Mind
Ilan PappĂ© -- The Independent (Britain) 

... One would have thought that Israel's drastic decline in international reputation would prompt new thinking by its leaders. But the responses to the attack on the flotilla in the past few days indicate clearly that there is no hope for any significant shift in the official position ... As long as the international community is complacent, the Arab world impotent and Gaza contained, Israel can still have a thriving economy and an electorate that regards the dominance of the army in its life, the continued conflict and the oppression of the Palestinians as the exclusive past, the present and future reality of life in Israel. 

In the Footsteps of the Oregon Trail Pioneers
The Associated Press 

... Kids crossing the continent in the mid-19th century often had roles and responsibilities that were critical to the family's survival, said Larry Jones, a retired Idaho state historian who has written extensively about the Oregon Trail. "They were pretty tough little kids," said Jones. "Many walked the entire 2,000 miles barefoot." It's been about 160 years since the westward migration started up in force between Missouri and the Pacific states, but there are still plenty of signs left behind by the more than 400,000 people estimated to have made that journey. ... The details of the crossing are dramatic. An estimated one in ten pioneers perished en route from cholera or dysentery or from accidents like accidental gunshots or falling under a wagon wheel. 

Why Some Jews Would Rather Live in Siberia Than Israel
The Christian Science Monitor 

... This Siberian territory bordering Manchuria and seven time zones east of Moscow is a Jewish republic. The Jewish Autonomous Region [Birobidzhan] was created by Stalin 75 years ago as an alternative to the Zionist project in Israel ... Today, just 6,000 of the region's 200,000 residents identify as Jews. But the Jewish dream in Siberia is not quite dead yet, and the region is now experiencing a small revival, thanks to Jews arriving from Israel. 

Orthodox Jews Rally to Maintain Segregated Schools
Haaretz (Israel) 

One of the toughest clashes between the [Israeli] state and Israel's ultra-Orthodox community came to a head on Thursday ... The parents, of Ashkenazi descent, have refused to allow their daughters to study alongside peers from Sephardi descent at a religious school in the West Bank settlement of Immanuel. The parents had removed their daughters from the school, despite the court's decision barring them from doing so, and refused to comply with the ruling in the future ... 100,000 ultra-Orthodox demonstrators came out to the streets to support the right of Ashkenazi Hasidic parents to keep their children in classes segregated from their Sephardi peers and to greet the parents on their way to custody. 


Dalton's Holocaust Radio Debate on April 24, 2010:


Michael Santomauro
Editorial Director
Call anytime: 917-974-6367

Amazon's: DEBATING THE HOLOCAUST: A New Look At Both Sides by Thomas Dalton

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Frank Scott: Moral Debts and Ethical deficits


From: frank scott <>
Date: Thu, Jun 24, 2010 at 10:35 PM

Moral Debts and Ethical Deficits

by Frank Scott

Our heads are filled with  stories about the danger of trillions of dollars in debt and  deficits , with little if any mention of the real problem they represent. It is not the debt, but what we are indebted for that threatens the future of our nation . If we owed hundreds of trillions of dollars - which may soon be the case - and every American was employed,  housed,  educated, cared for without question in time of ill health or economic need and safe from warfare and violence from inside the nation or out , such debt would not be any problem at all.

Borrowing today and paying back tomorrow shouldn't  mean we  lavishly spend most of the borrowed money on weapons , waste, cosmetics and pets , causing us to scrimp on health, education and social life  while complaining that we have too much debt. We need to  control our spending on things only a minority of us actually need or really want, and begin changing priorities to satisfy the shared needs and wants of the great majority. This can't happen under the domain of forces that mislead us into social divisions by exaggerating differences and minimizing similarities to protect a commodity culture  and a perverse political order that defines minority rule as democracy.

The present renewal of the drive to dismantle Social Security and turn it over to private profiteers is one among many of the lies and distortions offered as  suggested solutions for our problems which will only make them much worse. Increasing budgets for war and decreasing budgets for social service only make sense to anti-social forces which profit from divide and conquer policies that reduce Americans, especially the working majority, to special interest and identity groups whose common cause is sacrificed to competition while ruling minorities practice  a  lucrative socialism at their expense.

Our common condition has been ignorance for much too long and it needs to become a common cause of democracy and transformation of our economy before we are transformed by it into a totally failed society.

All people need housing, safe communities, health care , education, transportation and the time and effort necessary to pursue interests other than simply working to maintain those needs. But we are socialized to accept a lack of any and all of those things for far too many of our number , believing that those who don't have them are simply  undeserving. This divisive  condition is part of the political economy that replaces citizenship with consumerism  and substitutes anti-social competition for social cooperation.

When people can go to places of religious community and entertain belief in invisible forces that call for solidarity and love among humanity, and leave those places and practice competitive individualism and economic warfare amongst themselves, the society in which they practice this split personality is suffering more than a collective mental disorder. That disorder is part of the economic foundation that is taught to us as a natural order of god's universe, except  when god is being communed with at church, ashram, temple or other place of worship of the beautiful  immaterial ideal in order to escape the  ugly material reality. This fractured dualism makes it possible for a society to be in great debt in order to make war, create poverty and destroy the natural environment, while lacking the material and spiritual sustenance of life for a majority of the human community.

If , as many good people believe , we are all god's children we need to stop treating some of our kin folk like excrement. The human family is dysfunctional under profit and loss rules in which family values that sound good in words about love and brotherhood turn out to be  deeds of pillage,  waste and murder. We cannot be ethical people practicing high minded morals in the midst of a collectively immoral economy that trashes ethical behavior with  murderous attack on humans and all other parts of the natural environment. The earth is treated as a profit making commodity and we see it erupting in gushers of oil that threaten far more than the profit margin of one petroleum company. Humans are treated as nothing more than commodities by the same system, and it cannot and should not  be blamed on corporate CEOs or  political and media gas bags who simply follow the systemic dictates of creating profit for some at the expense  of all. That is the religion of the market under private control, creating profit for a minority and loss for the great majority. That loss is being reflected in greater numbers of personal lives as this economy suffers what is called a recession, but even more telling signs are revealed in the rapid breakdowns in life support systems that can no longer withstand the ravages of being treated like commodities rather than what they are; the substance of our lives.

Nature is our nature and not some product which we can simply market and sell at profits. When we incur massive debts in order to create massive destruction of nature, we are in process of destroying the very substance of ourselves. That cannot go on and will only be changed by a motivated and informed public that demands service to humanity - itself - before service to a commodity market . The growing global numbers  who profess that another world  is  possible are voicing the necessity, not just the possibility. We will have that other world or we will not have any world at all. And creating that future organism is worth far more debt than anything we have incurred for this present failing mechanism.


Dalton's Holocaust Radio Debate on April 24, 2010:


Michael Santomauro
Editorial Director
Call anytime: 917-974-6367

Amazon's: DEBATING THE HOLOCAUST: A New Look At Both Sides by Thomas Dalton

Recent Activity:


Mondoweiss: The brand is tanking, in the East River



The brand is tanking, in the East River

Posted: 24 Jun 2010 10:25 AM PDT

The Conference of Presidents, a lead group in the Israel lobby, is as we speak leading some kind of flotilla in the East River near the United Nations to demand the release of Gilad Shalit by Hamas, according to twitter feeds from Dan Sieradski (congrats on your marriage, Dan) and Gal Beckerman. Sieradski: "conference of presidents hosts booze cruise "flotilla" for gilad shalit." And from Beckerman, this:

Israel Counsel General: "gilad shalit is the only one in gaza lacking human rights."

If this statement is true, this is why the Israeli brand is tanking. Complete indifference to another people's suffering. The world sees this and is shocked. Here's the flotilla at Conference of Presidents site. (And yes, my heart goes out to Shalit. As it does to the 10,000 Palestinian prisoners, and to the people suffering Israeli persecution in Gaza.)

Third war is urged on Obama

Posted: 24 Jun 2010 08:12 AM PDT

Amitai Etzioni in Haaretz, on confronting Iran:

There is only one alternative left. I should hasten to add – it's not a policy Israel has to follow, it's a policy the U.S. can follow because there are too many missions involved. Some people say Israel should do it and then the U.S. can enter under the excuse that it's its ally, and some people think coalition is better. Coalition is always better, but in this case it's very unlikely that many other nations would like to join the Administration.

Thanks to Boulos.

Today in Palestine: Gaza cancer patient is denied chemotherapy, given painkillers

Posted: 24 Jun 2010 08:07 AM PDT

And  China, Morocco and Ban Ki-moon come out against Jerusalem house demolitions, in some of the other news...

Land theft and destruction/Ethnic cleansing

Israel's Likud to back West Bank settlement growth (AFP)
AFP - Israel's right-wing Likud party was to endorse on Thursday settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank, with an eye to a building spurt when a moratorium on construction expires in September.*

Palestinians slams Israeli plan to expel Hamas (AP)
AP - The Palestinian president has denounced Israel's plan to expel four politicians from Jerusalem because they belong to the Islamic militant group Hamas.*

MKs offer to evacuate Arabs from Silwan
In letter to prime minister, rightist lawmakers promise to help Jewish residents in east Jerusalem neighborhood to remove families living in old synagogue building.,7340,L-3909831,00.html

U.N.'s Ban criticizes East Jerusalem housing plan (Reuters)
Reuters - U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon criticized Israeli municipal authorities on Wednesday for pressing ahead with a plan to raze Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, calling it unhelpful and illegal.*

China joins world condemnation of East Jerusalem building plan
France counters Obama, EU worry that Israel's plan for 900 homes will pose obstacle to peace process.

Morocco: East Jerusalem building will have serious consequences
Morocco has condemned Israel's plan to "demolish the Palestinian houses in east Jerusalem" and called on the international community to intervene in order to stop the "illegal decision", an official source in Rabat said.  The source added that "Morocco rejects the false claims trying to justify the construction of an archaeological garden in the area and warns Israel that this will have serious consequences.",7340,L-3909874,00.html

Gaza rallies against Jerusalem lawmakers' deportation
Gaza – Ma'an – Gaza legislators and faction leaders gathered at the Palestinian Legislative Council building in Gaza City on Wednesday, to protest an Israeli decision to deport four Jerusalem lawmakers from the city.  Deputized PLC Speaker Ahmad Bahar said the move to expel Muhammad Abu Tier, Muhammad Totah, Khaled Abu Arafa, and Ahmed Atoun, from Jerusalem and revoke their residency rights was "a continuation of Israeli violations beginning with home demolitions in Silwan, the confiscation of land to complete the wall, and settlement expansion."

Fearing expulsion, Palestinians stay home (AP)
AP - The Helou family is so worried about getting expelled to Gaza by Israeli authorities that they're all but trapped in this West Bank town. They couldn't even leave to get their disabled son the best possible surgery to let him walk.*

'The wall ruined my life, separated my family'
Bethlehem - Ma'an - The demolition of a Palestinian man's home on Monday was his final lost battle in a string of defeats going back to the 1990s, the Beit Jala man told Ma'an.  In 1992, Israel confiscated several hundred dunums of land belonging to the family, where the tunnels system was created to connect the illegal Israeli settlements of Gilo and Bettar Illit with Jerusalem. What was left undeveloped on the far side of the tunnel road was confiscated, and the farming family was left to find a different source of livelihood.

Lawyer files claim against Museum of Tolerance over improper grave removal
Complaint filed on behalf of a new organization, the Association for Muslim Affairs, that represents the heads of various Muslim communities in Israel.

Birkat Goes It Alone: Silwan The Target For Ethnic Cleansing
From Cast Lead to the Mavi Marmara, few states have displayed Israel's commitment to unilateral action. A unique ability to deflect external criticism has allowed successive administrations to advance Israel's expansionist interests. A microcosm can be glimpsed in Jerusalem, where Mayor Nir Birkat's intention to re-develop in Silwan place the Municipality's glamour project over the rights of residents, the agenda of his government and stillborn proximity talks.

Aiding and Abetting: Israeli expo in NYC markets penthouses in settlements
The Jewish Agency says settlements are great if you're making aliyah with kids. "Try to visit within a year of your aliyah with your children," the website reads. "Small communities with a high percentage of olim, such as settlements in the Galilee, or Judea and Samaria, often offer more support than major cities." That's an understatement. At the Aliyah Expo, I learned of the Go North program from Nefesh B'Nefesh, the Jewish Agency's North American partner. Go North families get $25,000 and a vehicle subsidy of up to $16,000 (with extra employment help, a "local 'buddy' family," and more). And for the past five years, Nefesh B'Nefesh and the Jewish Agency have offered "Community Aliyah," which offers extra rent subsidies, job counseling, social events, and more to families that move to settlements like Gush Etzion, Ariel, and Ma'aleh Adumim. Whether it's the Galilee or the West Bank, the Jewish Agency is committed to "Judaization" on both sides of the green line: separation and containment of Palestinians while expropriating their land.

Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment
Hebron Jew won't claim home until Palestinians return
Hebron – Ma'an – An elderly Jewish man from Hebron has asked the city's mayor to permit his burial in a Muslim cemetery when he dies, insisting that his body not be placed in one of the sites now controlled by Israeli settlers.  Haim Bajayo, 75, visited Mayor Khalid Al-Useili at his office in the southern West Bank city and described in detail how Jews and Arabs had generally enjoyed amiable relations until the arrival of tens of thousands of foreign immigrants from the 1920s until 1948, the year Israel was established and most of Hebron's Jews fled to the new state established in their name.

Justice for Adeeb Abu Rahma: Peaceful protest is not a crime
The conflict between the Israeli military and security and the popular non-violent Palestinian resistance is reaching a crisis – in large part a tribute to the worldwide credibility and admiration the resistance is steadily winning.  Today in Palestine, such resistance is breaking out in larger towns, small villages, Bedouin encampments, in both Christian and Muslim areas. People are marching, chanting and singing, carrying signs, and often using very funny or touching street theatre. Palestinians are calling for their rights, joined and assisted by international and Israeli volunteers in a new model of friendship and brotherhood that offers hope for the future.

Israeli State War Against Ameer Makhoul : Interview with Ameer`s wife Jadan Abdu
Nadia Hijab - Tikun Olam - We believe that the main purpose of arresting Ameer – other than to frighten the community – is to silence his voice. His voice is significant for many reasons. He has been writing many strategic, forward-looking pieces to help shape thinking among the community and elsewhere. When I visit with him I urge him to keep writing. He's allowed to send two letters a month. And I write to him and I'm keeping a journal so we can document his story.

US Social Forum cancels exploitative Zionist workshop
In a historic accomplishment, the leadership of the US Social Forum voted this morning to cancel a workshop proposed by "Stand With US," a Zionist organization that sought to represent Israel as a safe haven for LGBTQI communities and undermine the broadening support for the cause of justice in/for Palestine. As the National Planning Committee (NPC) put it in its announcement, "the workshop 'LGBTQI Liberation in the Middle East' (Thursday, 24 June 10:00am to 12:00pm) has been canceled for violating the submission procedure and transparency requirements for all workshops, and for being in violation of the anti-racist principles central to the US Social Forum."

Israel to reexamine its shooting of US activist (AP)
AP - Israeli police will reopen the investigation into their shooting of a pro-Palestinian U.S. activist last year.*

Mohamed Khodr – Petition: A World United for the Freedom of Humanity…Freedom of Palestine

CALL TO ACTION: Tell ADC To Remove Ray Hanania From Its National Board

News that Dr. Safa Rifka, Chairman of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), has confirmed the appointment of journalist Ray Hanania to the organization's national board is both shocking and disappointing. Ray Hanania is a polarizing figure within the Arab-American community. He often makes statements that serve to strengthen the very stereotypes ADC aims to break.

Israel's American and Arab Helpers
US urges ships from Lebanon to send Gaza aid via land (AFP)
AFP - The United States on Wednesday urged aid ships from Lebanon to Gaza to "behave responsibly" and avoid clashes by having the aid delivered via established land routes from Israel.*

Report: IAF helicopters unload equipment 'meant for attacking a Muslim state' at Saudi airport
Helicopters landed at a Saudi airport and unloaded equipment intended for attacking targets in a Muslim state, semi-official news agency reports.

UAE vows to strictly enforce UN nuclear sanctions on Iran

UAE is one of Iran's biggest trading partners and serves as a key conduit for nuclear and missile components.

Siege/Human Rights/Humanitarian Issues
Gazans unhappy with 'eased' blockade
More than 100 trucks have delivered a cargo of goods no longer banned under the rules of the Israeli blockade. But with the economy there still in ruins, for many the change will not make much difference. Al Jazeera's Nicole Johnston reports from Gaza, has been spending time with Gazan families to find out how much of a difference the recent easing has made.

'We don't want a crossing for plates, cups and tooth brushes'
We watched the trucks roll into Gaza with goods Israel has not allowed in for more than three years.  And when we waved the drivers down to stop so we could see the cargo, there were those innocuous items; kids' footballs, packets of pencils, children's backpacks, kitchen cutlery and sewing material.  Is this a "liberalised" siege - an "easing" of the blockade?  Or is this Israel's folly on display for the world to see?  From Thursday the goods now allowed into Gaza will include spare parts for cars, engine oil, tyres, parts for the agricultural and fishing industries, perfume and makeup.  In Gaza people see this as a minor modification of the siege.  All of these items are already
available here. They come from Egypt and are smuggled through underground tunnels. This inflates the price and the quality is poor.

Where Cancer Sufferers Get Only Painkillers
Arafat Hamdona, 20, has been confined to the cancer unit of As-Shifa, Gaza's primary hospital, since he was diagnosed with maxillary skin tumours in June 2008. Red lesions protrude from his face, his features are distorted and his eyes swollen shut.  In April, Arafat was permitted to travel to Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem where he received three series of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. He was scheduled to return for further treatment, but has not been granted permission by the Israeli authorities to leave Gaza.

European MPs to Israel: Lift Gaza blockade completely
PACE resolution calls on Israel to allow in good via sea, 'without prejudice to its own security'.

Khudari: Palestinians entitled to sea route linking Gaza to outside world
MP Jamal Al-Khudari has underlined that the Palestinians are entitled to having a sea route linking Gaza Strip to the outside world under European supervision.

Single Gaza crossing open
Gaza - Ma'an - One Gaza crossing will open on Thursday, Israeli officials told Palestinian crossings authorities, for the limited transport of supplies for aid agencies, along with some commercial goods and agricultural products.  Palestinian crossings liaison official Raed Fattouh said the supplies would come through the Kerem Shalom crossing, located in the southern Gaza Strip just west of the destroyed Yasser Arafat International Airport.

Egypt's unfulfilled promise to open the Rafah Crossing
Following Israel's attack on the Freedom Flotilla at the end of last month, the siege of Gaza has come under the spotlight. In Europe and the United States there is a growing realisation in official circles that the siege is unacceptable and untenable. With this realisation, attention has, quite naturally, fallen on Egypt's role in the siege. Following the attack on the flotilla, Egypt announced that it had opened the Rafah Crossing, the only point of entry to Gaza not under Israel's direct control, indefinitely. Prior to that the Rafah Crossing had been kept completely closed to the movement of goods, and was only opened intermittently to the movement of people.  This made Egypt a collaborator with Israel in its siege of the Gaza Strip. The Egyptian government had refused to allow aid into Gaza. In December last year it began building a steel wall designed to cut off Gaza's only lifeline to the outside world - the smuggling tunnels built underneath the border between Gaza and Egypt. 156 Palestinians have died in these tunnels, which are prone to collapse, over the past two years.  Some of these deaths were due to deliberate action by the Egyptian security forces.

Mubarak: Israel responsible for siege, not Cairo
Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Egypt strongly rejects any Israeli attempt to renounce its responsibility toward Gaza and transpose it on to Cairo, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said Wednesday.  Speaking before top officials of the ruling National Democratic Party (NDP),  Egypt will work toward lifting the Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip, stressing that the Palestinian cause will remain a top Egyptian foreign policy priority, the Egyptian news site Al-Masry Al-Yom reported.

Commitments Yet Unfulfilled
On Sunday, Israel's Cabinet issued an encouraging statement promising to remove many of the restrictions on civilian goods entering Gaza, including those needed for economic activity.  What has changed on the ground since the announcement and more generally, since international pressure mounted on Israel in the wake of the May 31 flotilla incident? The list of consumer goods permitted into Gaza has been expanded to include previously banned items such as ketchup, mayonnaise, and children's toys. Ah, yes, and chips (french fries) as well, for dipping into the ketchup. But that's about it.

EU expands social welfare program in West Bank
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Almost 50,000 in need Palestinian families will receive cash allowances under an EU and Palestinian Authority initiative, a joint statement said.  Saturday's payment will be the tenth under the scheme. However, the program has been reformed in the West Bank, expanding to target more families in extreme poverty.

Gaza summer camp underway

Gaza – Ma'an – A Gaza summer camp kicked off its program on Wednesday at the Hasad Al-Kheir Institute building and playground in the Al-Tufah neighborhood, east of Gaza City.  Under the banner Freedom for Detainees, organizers said all efforts were undertaken to ensure the camp provides the children with a respite from the situation in Gaza.

Violence and Aggression
Teenager shot by settler forced to pay fine
Hebron/Bethlehem – Ma'an – A teenage boy shot by an Israeli settler has been fined by Israeli police investigating the case, family members said.  Mohammad Ibrahim, 16, was shot in the chest as he walked home from school with his friends on 4 June. His friend, Moataz Moussa Omran Banat, was also shot in the leg.  On Tuesday, Ibrahim's father said Israeli police from the Kiryat Arba settlement asked him to bring his son to make a report on the incident.

Hebron visit by Knesset member provokes settler venom
A member of the left-wing Knesset party visited Tel Rumeida settlement in Hebron Wednesday, generating a large crowd as walked through the city. He came to speak and was given a tour of the settlements. The group was surrounded by around 10 police, 40 border police, and also at least two vans of secret police (according to Palestinian bystanders these are the same group who shot dead several people on board the Gaza flotilla last month). There were also representatives of Breaking the Silence, and three or four coach-loads of Zionists following the press and party member into the Tel Rumeida settlement. The heavy police presence suggested concern that settlers would attack the visitors.

Family exhumes body of slain Jerusalem man
Jerusalem - Ma'an - At the request of the Al-Julani family, the body of the man shot dead in Jerusalem last week was exhumed just after midnight on Thursday morning for autopsy.  The body of the 38-year-old Zaid was taken from its place of internment at the Al-Asbat Gate cemetery near Al-Aqsa Mosque under the watch of doctors from the Abu Kabir Institute for forensic medicine and clerks from Israel's Magistrates Court and Ministry of Justice, and moved to a secure autopsy facility in Jerusalem.

Family says son paralyzed from torture in Israeli jail
Jenin – Ma'an – The parents of a Palestinian detainee from Jenin have called on international rights groups to secure their son's immediate release, after he was reportedly tortured in an Israeli prison.  Asad Sholi, from the Kafr Dan village in Jenin, was severely beaten by Israeli Prison Service staff, during which both hands and legs were broken, parents said.

Targeting Israel's Palestinians,  Ben White
Israel's Palestinian minority has always been subject to discriminatory policies, but some now say that a more open conflict between the Israeli establishment and its Palestinian citizens appears to be brewing.  In May, Ameer Makhoul, the director of Ittijah, a network for Palestinian NGOs, was taken from his home in the middle of the night by the Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service.  Once the media gag was lifted, it emerged that Makhoul and another Palestinian citizen, Omar Said, a natural medicine expert and Balad party activist, were facing serious security-related charges.  Both men were denied access to lawyers for approximately a fortnight.  Makhoul's wife, Janan Abdu, says she feels that her husband is being made an example of.  "He's in a key position in within the community here, has a high profile internationally and he has been speaking clearly about discrimination and encouraging [a] boycott [of Israel]."

War Criminals
Report: Israel has new Gaza plan
JERUSALEM, June 23 (UPI) -- Israel's military has drawn up plans to evacuate entire villages and refugee camps in Gaza if a new conflict with Hamas erupts, the Jerusalem Post has learned.  The Post says in an exclusive report Wednesday that the evacuation plan partially draws on a previous Gaza operation, Cast Lead, in which Israeli Defense Forces dropped fliers over areas it planned to invade and made phone calls to residents warning them to leave.

Political Developments/Flotilla Fallout
US vetoed Shalit release deal and other things I learned from "diplomatic sources"
I had some interesting conversations with what I can refer to as diplomatic sources familiar with these matters and thought the following points worth sharing...

National unity remains elusive under occupation
Since the split between the Fatah and Hamas factions deepened after the latter stymied foreign-backed efforts to overthrow it in 2007 following its election victory the previous year, there has been much talk of restoring Palestinian unity. Such reconciliation has however so far eluded all efforts. Some analysts think it may have a better chance now. Rami Almeghari reports for The Electronic Intifada.

Fatah official: Abbas not willing to go to Gaza
Bethlehem - Ma'an – President Mahmoud Abbas is unwilling to visit Gaza because Hamas has not reciprocated his conciliatory efforts, a senior Fatah official said Tuesday.  Fatah Central Committee member Nabil Sha'ath told Ma'an that Hamas failed to welcome Abbas when he announced his willingness to visit the Strip, and that the president is reluctant to go to Gaza and return without making real progress.

Netanyahu: State's legitimacy attacked
Prime minister attends special Knesset session initiated by opposition, says radical Islam cooperating with radical Left against Israel's existence. MK Itzik urges him to form unity government with Kadima.,7340,L-3909747,00.html

Netanyahu: PA has no intention to enter direct talks
Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu accused the Palestinian Authority of obstructing dialogue on Wednesday, as he spoke before the Knesset, Israeli media reported.  "The Palestinian side promoted the Goldstone report, organized boycotts, and tried to prevent our entrance into the OECD. The Palestinian Authority has no intentions of engaging in direct talks with us," Netanyahu said, after saying the country's legitimacy was being attacked, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.

Egypt FM receives independent Palestinian delegation
Bethlehem - Ma'an/Agencies - Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit received a delegation of Palestinian independent politicians on Tuesday, Egyptian media reported.  Ministry spokesman Hossam Zaki said some members of the delegation came from Gaza and that the meeting was aimed at encouraging dialogue with all Palestinian factions to end division, the news site Egypt News reported.

Belgian lawyers to charge Barak and Livni for war crimes
Two Belgian lawyers, working on behalf of a group of Palestinians, plan to charge 14 Israeli politicians, including Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni and Matan Vilnai, for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

33 Greeks to sue Israeli officials over Gaza flotilla raid
Group of Greek citizens who took part in Gaza-bound flotilla that was taken over by the IDF last month to sue senior Israeli officials - including Defense Min. Barak, and army chief Ashkenazi.

Gaza flotilla organizer: We'll sue Israel at ICJ

Audrey Bomse of Free Gaza movement says members collecting evidence, testimonies from passengers stopped by Israel on their way to Strip in order to make Jewish state 'pay the price for its crimes'. Civilians to file similar claim in Greek court.,7340,L-3909855,00.html

Balkan summit condemns Israeli raid on Gaza flotilla
13 southeastern European countries, including Turkey, call for independent and internationally credible investigation on Gaza flotilla deaths.

Barak seeks to put aside rows to advance peace process (AFP)
AFP - Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak called here Wednesday for pushing ahead with the Middle East peace process by putting aside rows following a deadly Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla.*

Did the State Dept cave to pressure in denying flotilla activist entry to U.S.?, Alex Kane
When a near-capacity crowd of New Yorkers sat down in their seats to hear testimonials on June 18 from survivors of Israel's attack on an aid flotilla trying to break the blockade of Gaza, they expected to hear from three different activists. Instead, they only heard from two at the House of the Lord Church in Brooklyn.

Israeli Racists
Initiative: Expel 'filthy' infiltrators from Tel Aviv
Shas councilman leads campaign against renting apartments to foreign migrants, refugees. City Council chairwoman: Campaign racist, illegal.,7340,L-3909889,00.html

Yishai: Seculars shouldn't preach us

In an interview with Shas journal, party chairman slams those who criticized his stand on Emmanuel discrimination affair, asks 'how many Sephardic judges does the High Court have? Are the haredim the only ones with racism?',7340,L-3909928,00.html

Above the Law:  Israel pardons 'school row' mothers
Israel's supreme court overturns jail sentences for ultra-Orthodox Jewish mothers who defied a school integration ruling.

Emmanuel rabbi: We won't compromise even before firing squad
In potent letter distributed to Hasidic followers, Slonim dynasty's grand rabbi ups battle against High Court, calls it 'a struggle between faith and heresy, between power of holiness and power of impurity of Other Side, a struggle we always knew would come at the End of Days'.,7340,L-3909800,00.html

Israel jails brother of Ghanaian soccer player
Brother of John Paintsil who waved Israeli flag during 2006 World Cup files for asylum in Israel, but arrested for illegal stay due to expired visa. 'I cannot return to Ghana because I truly fear for my life,' he tells Ynet from prison.,7340,L-3909811,00.html

Other News
Jordan trade unions urge France to revoke Hamas TV ban (AFP)
AFP - Jordan's Islamist-dominated trade unions urged France on Thursday to revoke an "unjust" decision to block broadcasts by the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa television channel for alleged incitement.*

JULIA IRWIN MP: Middle East Speech in Australia's Federal Parliament
(Fowler) (9.39 am)—The development of Israeli settlements in the West Bank continues unabated. With the world occupied in getting the parties to the negotiating table, the reality on the ground is changing to the point that a real and meaningful settlement based on a two-state solution may soon become practically  unachievable. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas is being painted into such a corner as will prevent him from agreeing to any peace plan that does not provide the Palestinian people with a meaningful unified state and not  a series of fractured Palestinian cities and towns.

The Last Keffiyeh Factory In Palestine
Originating in ancient Mesopotamia, the Keffiyah was popular among Arab men who used it to protect their face, head, and neck from the elements of nature. The traditional pattern, which is still used today in Palestine and other Arab Nations, was modeled after fishing nets and ears of grain. During the Arab Revolt in the 1930s, the keffiyah became a symbol of Palestinian nationalism and in the 1980s Yasser Arafat made the keffiyah a globally recognized symbol of the Palestinian struggle. Today, cheaper imports of the keffiyah from China threaten an already troubled industry. Rebecca Fudala takes a look inside the last keffiyah factory in Palestine.

Turkish Military Delegation In Israel For Drone Deal
Turkish Military officials are currently in Israel to receive instructions and test four Israeli drones, Heron, manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries, owned by Israel.

Navy to buy ships from Arab-owned company?
Deal between Israel, German shipbuilders hits snag when UAE-owned firm buys majority of shares.,7340,L-3910265,00.html

Cairo envoy miffed at snub from top Netanyahu aide
In his cable, Levanon urged senior officials in Jerusalem to appeal to their counterparts in Cairo for more accommodating treatment of Israel's diplomatic personnel in Egypt.

Police bans gay parade to Knesset

Gay community's request to end Pride Parade at parliament denied. Open House chairman calls decision 'infuriating'; Israel Religious Action Center threatens legal action.,7340,L-3910296,00.html

Fighting talk: The new propaganda
Robert Fisk - The Independent - So an "occupation" becomes a "dispute". Thus a "wall" becomes a "fence" or "security barrier". Thus Israeli acts of colonisation of Arab land, contrary to all international law, become "settlements" or "outposts" or "Jewish neighbourhoods". It was Colin Powell, in his starring, powerless appearance as Secretary of State to George W Bush, who told US diplomats to refer to occupied Palestinian land as "disputed land" – and that was good enough for most of the US media. There are no "competing narratives", of course, between the US military and the Taliban. When there are, you`ll know the West has lost.

Attacks targeting Iraqi forces kill 10 (AP)
AP - A spate of attacks targeting Iraqi security forces and their allies killed at least 10 people on Thursday, half in suicide bombings in the northern city of Mosul, officials said.*

Qaeda claims deadly attack on Iraqi bank: SITE (AFP)
AFP - The Al-Qaeda front in Iraq has said it was behind last weekend's twin suicide bombings outside a Baghdad bank that killed 26 and wounded 53 people, US monitoring group SITE reported on Wednesday.*

Shi'ite rifts threaten to prolong Iraq government delay (Reuters)
Reuters - Iraq's main Shi'ite-led blocs are facing serious problems in deciding on a candidate for prime minister, straining their alliance and threatening to prolong the delay in forming a government, party officials said.*

Iraqis told to wait for two more years for power supplies to improve
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki dumped Iraqis' hope of better electricity supplies by saying that they will have to wait at least two more years before they see any tangible improvements.  Power shortages have worsened recently amid scorching heat and rising temperatures. Supplies from the national grid are erratic and may last less than three hours a day.  Violent demonstrations, in which two people were killed and scores injured, swept across southern Iraq and have so far covered five provinces.  More demonstrations are expected in central Iraq, but they will probably change nothing.\2010-06-23\kurd.htm

War uproots Iraq's signature date palms, and their tenders (McClatchy Newspapers)
McClatchy Newspapers - BAGHDAD — Jawad Kadhim rides his rusty bicycle through Baghdad neighborhoods that have been transformed by violence, sealed off by concrete blast walls and emptied of their once close-knit inhabitants.*

Infrastructure Minister warns Hezbollah: Israel will fight for its gas fields
Landau responds to Lebanon MPs' accusations that Israel's off-shore drilling violated naval territorial lines.

PLO Rejects Naturalization: Rights Not Up For Bargaining
23/06/2010 Palestine Liberation Organization Representative in Lebanon Abdullah Abdullah hailed government efforts aimed at giving Palestinian refugees their civil rights.  "There is an encouraging factor behind the proposals to grant Palestinians in Lebanon their civil rights," Abdullah told Lebanese daily An-Nahar. "This stems from the fact that the Lebanese are convinced that the Palestinians reject naturalization," he explained.  Abdullah stressed that both Lebanese and Palestinians are against the naturalization of Palestinians and that both sides support the right of return.  He slammed as "unrealistic" some reports that said about 400,000 Palestinians intend to buy apartments in Lebanon, a matter that is likely to cause housing price hike.

Murr Expresses Concern over 'Naturalization' of Palestinians
23/06/2010 MP Michel Murr stressed Wednesday the importance of granting Palestinian refugees in Lebanon their rights, but said a draft law on the matter cannot be submitted as an urgent bill. Murr wondered what stops the Palestinians from being naturalized if they are granted social security and the right of ownership.  He added that the Christian leaders voiced their concern with a draft law being submitted as an urgent bill "because they say it's a precursor to naturalization, and they are right."

Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon: Righting a Perpetual Wrong
Finally, a parliamentary debate in Lebanon over the human rights of Palestinian refugees. What is unfortunate though, is that granting basic civil rights to over 400,000 Palestinians - 62 years after their expulsion from their historic homeland and the issuing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – has been a topic of 'debate' in the first place. Equally regrettable is the fact that various 'Christian' Lebanese political forces are fiercely opposing granting Palestinians their rights.

Why Palestinians are second-class citizens in Lebanon | Ahmed Moor
Arab leaders pay lip service to Palestinian rights – except when it comes to the rights of domiciled refugees in their countries. 
I moved to Beirut from New York nine months ago and began looking for an apartment. After 10 continuous years in America, I wanted to return to the Arab world – and returning to my family's roots in Palestine wasn't an option.

Sudanese protest in Khartoum against Lebanese raid
BEIRUT: Sudanese nationals demonstrated in Khartoum on Wednesday to condemn a raid by Lebanese security forces on a gathering of Sudanese refugees, as diplomats from both countries tried to cool tensions over the matter.

Parliament discusses granting basic rights to Palestinians
BEIRUT: Lebanese lawmakers submitted Wednesday a second draft law to grant Palestinian refugees their civil rights amid rising domestic debate over the scope of those rights and their nature. Both proposals called for amendments to labor, social security and foreign property ownership laws to guarantee equality in rights between Lebanese and Palestinians.

Documentary shows tragedy, hopes of refugees in Lebanon
BEIRUT: Mohammad, not his real name, 35, was tending to his fields when the attack on his village in Darfur, Sudan, began. He hid among the crops until the warplanes and military left, then raced back home to find his three brothers and three of his sisters killed and his mother moments away from death.

Al-Mustaqbal fined for slander of Jamil al-Sayyed

BEIRUT: The Beirut Publications Court fined both Al-Mustaqbal director and journalist LL 6 million on Wednesday for slander against former General Security Director General Jamil al-Sayyed. The court charged journalist Fares Khashan and the director of the Arabic daily Al-Mustaqbal, Tufiq Khattab, with slander and fined them LL6 million.

Al-Manar hit with fine over fake photos of LF
BEIRUT: The Beirut Publications Court charged the news director at Al-Manar TV on Wednesday with publishing fake photographs of Lebanese Forces (LF) members. The court charged the news and politics director at the Hizbullah-affilated Al-Manar, Mohammad Afif Ahmad, with publishing fake photographs.

U.S. and other World News
Obama fires US commander of war in Afghanistan
Barack Obama, the US president, has dismissed General Stanley McChrystal, the US and Nato commander in Afghanistan, over disparaging comments about the president's staff in a Rolling Stone magazine interview. Obama said he would not tolerate any act that could undermine civilian control of the US military. The president was quick, however, to say that the counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan would continue -- though without its chief architect. Afghan officials expressed disappointment over McChrystal's dismissal, but Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, said he accepted the decision. Al Jazeera's Nick Spicer reports. (June 24, 2010)

McChrystal's boss takes over as US commander in Afghanistan
General David Petraeus, the head of US Central Command, has replaced General Stanley McChrystal as commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, following the latter's removal. Petraeus is widely seen as being instrumental in turning around US fortunes in the Iraq war, and many are waiting to see if he can he do the same in Afghanistan. Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane reports. (June 24, 2010)

Wikileaks plans to release files about deadly U.S. airstrike on Afghan civilians plans to release as soon as this week documents related to a U.S. airstrike that killed Afghan civilians last year and plans to release combat footage of the incident this summer, the founder of the whistleblower site said in an interview Monday.

Kifah Mustapha, Muslim Appointee As Chaplain For Illinois State Police, Turned Away Following Background Check
The group alleged that Mustapha was linked to the Palestine Committee of the fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, a popular movement in the Muslim world that advocates the formation of Islamic governments in the Middle East. It also alleged he raised money for the Holy Land Foundation, a now-defunct Islamic charity whose founders were sentenced last year for funneling money to the Palestinian militant group Hamas. The group cited internal documents and a list of unindicted co-conspirators.

Sunni suspicions frustrate Saudi's Shia
Many Saudis consider the Shia, primarily present in the oil-rich Eastern province, as potential traitors, loyal to their brethren in Iran and busy plotting against Sunni. Many question whether the Shia are even Muslims.

Syrian human rights lawyer jailed for three years
Muhannad al-Hassani was convicted of charges brought against him after he drew public attention to unfair trials of political prisoners before the Supreme State Security Court.  Amnesty International has condemned a three year prison sentence imposed on Wednesday on a Syrian lawyer and human rights defender who had publicised the unfair trials of political prisoners and is calling for his immediate and unconditional release.

Award-winning Iranian journalist released on bail
Though released, Emaddedin Baghi now faces the additional charges of undertaking "propaganda against the state" and "colluding to commit acts against national security".  Amnesty International has called on the Iranian authorities to drop all charges against the prominent journalist and human rights activist Emaddedin Baghi, following his release on bail on Wednesday.

Punishing Turkey, Philip Giraldi
Does anyone remember the movie The Boys from Brazil?  It told the story of how a group of top Nazis had moved to Brazil where they made a number of clones of Hitler-as-a-child that were being strategically placed around the world to eventually bring about a Fourth Reich. The movie ended ambiguously, with many of the Hitler children still alive and evidently expected to eventually turn into Hitler adults.  The movie makers were clearly on to something because there have been a lot of Hitler sightings by Israel and its friends over the past few years.  Saddam Hussein was described as a new Hitler while Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been depicted in even more heinous terms as a reborn Nazi leader preparing a new Holocaust.  More recently Israel demonstrators have displayed effigies of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan with the hairline altered and a moustache added to create a caricature of Hitler.

The Rape Of America: Capitalism: A Love Story (Part 1)
Movie examines the impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans.

The Rape Of America: Capitalism: A Love Story (Part 2)
Movie examines the impact of corporate dominance on the everyday lives of Americans.

cycle of abuse

Posted: 24 Jun 2010 06:09 AM PDT

I don't like the Nazi analogy, I try to avoid it. All the same, last night I was on the couch at midnight, grazing books, and happened to read the following passages within ten minutes of one another. So I'm going to put this one down to Jungian synchronicity.

Passage 1:

Hitler's virulently anti-Semitic Nazi Party received a majority of German votes in 1932 and seized absolute power against little opposition the following year. Scenes of Jews on their knees scrubbing sidewalks in German towns became commonplace, and Jewish emigration to Palestine surged.

--From Geoffrey Wawro's book Quicksand, 2010.

Passage 2:

As [my son] Shai told me later, he had actually spent the night making men in their fifties and sixties wash anti-occupation graffiti off walls with toothbrushes while their children, the force behind the Intifada and the authors of the hastily sprayed slogans, watched their fathers and grandfathers be humiliated.

--From Hirsh Goodman's 2005 memoir, Let Me Create a Paradise, God Said to Himself, describing his son Shai's service in the occupation in 1991. Shai Goodman subsequently left Israel, saying he will never forgive the country for what it made him do, per this memoir. He works as a guide in the bush in his father's native country, South Africa.

Update, from Mark Wauck:

I like Wawro generally, but he's sometimes fact challenged:

Wawro: Nazi Party received a majority of German votes in 1932

Wiki: In the first round on 13 March, Hitler had polled over 11 million votes but was still behind Hindenburg. The second and final round took place on 10 April: Hitler (36.8% 13,418,547) lost out to Paul von Hindenburg (53.0% 19,359,983) whilst KPD candidate Thälmann gained a meagre percentage of the vote (10.2% 3,706,759).

'New York Review of Books' is thinking outside the box, again, on one-state

Posted: 24 Jun 2010 05:48 AM PDT

Seven years after the New York Review stunned the Upper West Side by running Tony Judt's argument for one-state in Israel/Palestine (and 43 years after I.F. Stone notioned binationalism in Ramparts; further proof that this whole issue is a hamster wheel), the New York Review is allowing these ideas to reach its readers. It runs a good piece by Israeli David Shulman, blasting the flotilla raid, and pointing out that the right wing in Israel is more receptive to one-state talk than all the great liberals. Shulman is a two-stater, but what is noble in this excerpt is that he seems aware that liberal Zionists are also enmeshed in an ideology that has destroyed imagination.

Time is running out, possibly has already run out, for a solution based on partition. Still, there are occasional flashes of something slightly new. On June 2, Moshe Arens, former minister of defense in three Likud governments and a prominent spokesman for the right (in my view, the extreme right), published a column in Haaretz arguing that an Israeli retreat from the West Bank and the evacuation of settlements are inconceivable; along with various figures on the left, such as Meron Benvenisti, the former deputy mayor of Jerusalem, he thinks the so-called two-state solution is long dead, a chimera kept alive artificially by the leadership on both sides in order to paste over the disastrous reality on the ground. But Arens's surprising conclusion is that because the occupation is irreversible, the Palestinian population on the West Bank—some 1.5 million by his count, probably a little low—should be granted Israeli citizenship and integrated into the Israeli state. Note that Arens has intentionally left out the 1.5 million Palestinians languishing in Gaza.

There have also been recent reports of small groups of Israeli settlers in the territories who have come to the conclusion that the current situation cannot endure, and that new modes of coexistence are called for. There are, it appears, points where the far right and the far left of the Israeli spectrum might coincide; perhaps these are the points where change will begin.

P.S. The Shulman is one of two pieces by Israelis opposing the occupation in my latest issue (the other is fiction by David Grossman). I continue to fail to understand this, why others are not given a voice here. This is a mental reservation, on the part of the editors.

Israeli expo in NYC markets penthouses in settlements

Posted: 23 Jun 2010 09:35 PM PDT

At the Jewish Agency's 2010 Aliyah Expo in New York last week, people asked one another, "When is your flight?"--no if's about it. Many planned to move to a country that seems increasingly intent on ostracizing itself from the international community. And yet, during the four hours I spent at the Aliyah Expo, I heard just a single concern. "My husband would love to have a goat," one woman with a thick New York accent told a Jewish Agency aliyah specialist, lamenting, "but you have to live on a moshav for a goat!" It's like moving to Arizona in the wake of the anti-immigrant bill SB1070 and worrying about finding a house with a big enough swimming pool--oblivious to those who have died of thirst while crossing in the desert.


"Jobs are waiting for you in Israel," a fresh-faced woman from the Jewish Agency promised us during the Aliyah Expo's "Young Professionals Wine and Cheese Reception." Both the young and the old exchanged business cards and ate cheese that had melted from the heat of the packed room. The minglers were a mixed crowd: from orthodox black hats and t-shirts for the men, to headscarves and tank tops for the women--and even a pair of flip flops with an Israeli flag on the strap.

Another Jewish Agency employee approached the front of the room and gravely addressed the assembly. "I'm going to talk quickly about the crisis that just occurred," he began. He wasn't talking about the Mavi Marmara. Rather: the economic crash of 2008. As English speakers, he assured us, we already have a leg up on the job market; acclimation is the real issue. For best results, sell all of your possessions, grab your free one-way ticket to Israel, and throw yourself into Hebrew lessons upon arrival. "Your aliyah will be as successful as the amount of effort you put into it," he advised. Such is the nature of Jewish privilege that one gets to experience it as labor.

Here is a short summary of my (already abridged) "Summary of Aliyah Benefits for Olim [immigrants]" sheet: As a single person moving to Israel, my aliyah payment would be about $4,000 (families get about $14,000), and I'd receive the first installment upon arrival at Ben Gurion airport—in cash; free health care for a year; five months of free Hebrew classes; free tuition for a BA and/or masters degree; rent subsidy for five years (about $60/mo for a single, $105/mo for families); job counseling; a 70-90% reduced property tax; low mortgage rates; and more.


Down the hall, another session was starting: "Aliyah First Steps." In a soothing voice, the presenter promised to tell us everything we needed to know "so that it's not so scary" (the antecedent being the logistical hassle of claiming the myriad perks offered to Jewish immigrants to Israel). Afterward, Andrew and Alana, two recent college graduates, got to chatting and discovered they're both on the same July 6th Nefesh B'Nefesh flight bound for Ulpan Etzion, an all-expenses-paid, live-in Hebrew intensive program in the East Jerusalem settlement of East Talpiot. Andrew, an Upper East Sider, said he's making aliyah because he wants to learn Hebrew, join the IDF, and get a free masters degree. Between the army and higher ed, Andrew's next four years are accounted for. "I have more job security than any of my friends," he said with a laugh. "Why join the IDF instead of the American army?" I asked. Andrew gave me a baffled look. "I don't want to be in, like, Grenada," he scoffed, adding, "If I'm going to die for my country, I want it to be in someplace where I have a connection." A Teaneck, New Jersey native, Alana also wanted to serve her adopted country: "I want to be prime minister of Israel!" she gushed.

As a 24-year-old, I know how to write a college paper and have (hopefully) learned critical thinking skills, and so I am too old to wield a gun in the IDF. For women making aliyah, army service is required for those 18-21; for men, it's 18-23. Newcomers have a special unit in the IDF: Garin Tzabar. Before shipping out, the Americans get prepped by Israel Scouts, a New York-based non-profit. Young immigrants can also join their Israeli peers for a pre-army year at a number of leadership academies called Mechinot; some, like Hemdat Yehuda, list their addresses as mobile trailers in West Bank settlements: outpost leaders.


The Jewish Agency says settlements are great if you're making aliyah with kids. "Try to visit within a year of your aliyah with your children," the website reads. "Small communities with a high percentage of olim, such as settlements in the Galilee, or Judea and Samaria, often offer more support than major cities." That's an understatement. At the Aliyah Expo, I learned of the Go North program from Nefesh B'Nefesh, the Jewish Agency's North American partner. Go North families get $25,000 and a vehicle subsidy of up to $16,000 (with extra employment help, a "local 'buddy' family," and more). And for the past five years, Nefesh B'Nefesh and the Jewish Agency have offered "Community Aliyah," which offers extra rent subsidies, job counseling, social events, and more to families that move to settlements like Gush Etzion, Ariel, and Ma'aleh Adumim. Whether it's the Galilee or the West Bank, the Jewish Agency is committed to "Judaization" on both sides of the green line: separation and containment of Palestinians while expropriating their land.


About 3,800 North Americans made aliyah in 2009 (of a total 16,244), and about 4,000 North Americans are expected in 2010. Yedioth Ahronoth reports that 1,000 people attended the Aliyah Expo last week.

Strange how one sees the erasure of the Green Line all the way from New York. Its absence was in the real estate room, where agents and mostly orthodox families (or so it seemed to me) perused floor plans for homes in new developments in Jerusalem "neighborhoods." Shmuel Aron of Brooklyn Realty was peddling new units in Katamon and Har Homa, each with identical luxury apartments in identical high rises but only one within pre-1967 Israel. This brought to mind a lunch in February at Mazin Qumsiyeh's home in Beit Sahour, just outside of Bethlehem. He turned to the window and gazed long and hard at the glittering white towers rising out of what used to be the Palestinian-owned Abu Ghneim Mountain: now the settlement of Har Homa. "Look, it's creeping down on us," he said sadly. "Every morning to have to see that."

Holyland Properties of Brookyn wanted to sell me a high rise apartment in a new development in East Jerusalem's Eshkol Heights. Tivuch Shelly Levine was in town from Israel to sell units in Modi'in (within the pre-1967 borders, barely, so as to grow "naturally" into the West Bank) starting at $366,000, and units in the settlement of Maale Adumim (where she's based) starting at $217,000. The Israeli construction company Chazon and Galili was there peddling units in a new neighborhood of Beit Shemesh, with red tile roofs as if over the Green Line yet within the 1967 borders; it takes some committed googling to tell a settlement from a suburb. Chazon and Galili first got into the business by building the settlement of Har Nof on top of the Deir Yassin massacre site.

Finally, with the Aliyah Expo drawing to a close and the crowds clearing out, I stopped by Kedumim 3000, the deeply ideological settlement construction giant whose bulldozers break ground all over the West Bank, including Kiryat Arba, the hothouse for settler violence on the edge of Hebron. The Kedumim 3000 backdrop advertised "penthouses and apartments with a view of the Temple Mount" in the Maale Hazeitim "Neighborhood in [East] Jerusalem." A gold dome could be seen through the window in the artist's rendering of a sleek, modern living room. A blackhat family with a baby stroller was deep in conversation with the Kedumim proprietors, a mess of floor plans spread out in front of them. "Do you mind if I take a pamphlet?" I asked out of courtesy as I lifted one from the tall stack. "No!" the man snapped. "I haven't enough." Apparently, a screening process was at work.

As I left, I passed by the Jewish Agency's welcome table, with its now-empty bowl of specially made fortune cookies. Shouldering a swag bag full of fliers and informational cards--possibilities for a future life I will not realize--I headed for the bathroom. There I found a discarded fortune cookie fortune. It read, "Israel is for tough cookies."

Don't fall into the 'noble savage' trap re women's rights in Middle East

Posted: 23 Jun 2010 06:00 PM PDT

Sometimes I wonder if you're not falling into the romanticizing trope of the "noble savage" with posts like this, "Casual Prejudice Against Muslims" (by Weiss). 

The fact of the matter is that in most, if not all, Arab and Muslim countries, women are discriminated against as a matter of course, from citizenship laws to inheritance to paternalistic familial structures and domestic abuse. This is clearly not a purely Muslim or Arab affair, since, with perhaps the exception of Scandinavia, it exists in various degrees throughout the world. But the fact of the matter is that even if it's often used as a pro-Israel or neocon club to bludgeon Arabs on other, unrelated issues like the Israel/Palestine conflict, that doesn't make the charge less true.

I look at it as being similar to Soviet charges against US treatment of black citizens. Did pointing out the Jim Crow laws make Siberian gulags or Eastern European oppression any more acceptable? Of course not, although it may have scored Moscow some points in the world arena by pointing out American hypocrisy. At the end of the day, though, the answer to Stalinist accusations of racism should have been the civil rights movement, not a denial of segregation. Likewise, to my mind, the oppression of women and minorities and homosexuals in the Mideast is not directly related to the Arab/Israeli conflict, but it is very important to me, and I don't see that there's any contradiction in my struggle to fight for my wife's right to marry who she pleases, legally own land and work at any job she wants to in Lebanon and her right to return to and live in Haifa.

The internet is bad here, so I didn't listen to the clip, but I don't think that the knee-jerk reaction that many people, especially those who don't live in the region, have to dismiss any and all criticism of Arab or Muslim states and/or societies as hasbara for Israel is helpful at all. In fact, it plays into the rhetoric of Arab states that justifies the emergency laws in Syria and Egypt and censorship laws here in Lebanon, not to mention the shameful treatment of Palestinians throughout the Arab world. For my part, an equitable solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict should be about justice, not about supporting "my side" right or wrong.

Sean Lee blogs from Beirut at the Human Province.


Dalton's Holocaust Radio Debate on April 24, 2010:


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Amazon's: DEBATING THE HOLOCAUST: A New Look At Both Sides by Thomas Dalton

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