Jul 28, 2010

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Oliver Stone's apology is not enough, say some -


Oliver Stone's apology is not enough, say some -

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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Jewish Media Power In Motion: this time, it's Oliver Stone and his new documentary, "A Secret History of America"


Haim Saban to CBS: Cancel Oliver Stone's Showtime Series

By Sharon Waxman & Brent Lang
Published: July 27, 2010
ron sez:
Haim Saban, Israeli-American major media mogul and major Univision stockholder, says how dare Olive Stone say Jews dominate the media, as Saban sits back at his executive desk at Saban Capital Group headquarters, picks up his phone and calls the head of CBS, Les Moonves and insists Moonves kill the Oliver Stone documentary, pronto.
Then, Saban picks up the phone and telephones Saban's partners in print media and directs them to do a story on himself picking up the phone and calling CBS to kill the Oliver Stone documentary.
Then, Saban picks up the phone and calls Oliver Stone's agent and urges his agent to drop Stone immediately, or else face Saban's wrath:

"Anyone who works with this guy, should be ashamed of him/herself, and shouldn't share that fact with their neighbors, or kids for that matter," Saban said.

Saban, a major stakeholder in Univision and chairman of Saban Capital Group, said he is spreading the word among his Hollywood friends to avoid working with Stone."

Less than 24hrs. later, media pundits heed Saban's call:

Michael Medved: OLIVER STONE'S "SECRET HISTORY" - 20hrs 20mins ago

Oscar-winning Hollywood director Oliver Stone has provoked universal revulsion with his nakedly anti-Semitic comments-minimizing Hitler's focus on murdering Jews and slamming alleged destructive Jewish "domination" of media and US Foreign Policy.   These remarks should surprise no one who's followed Stone's long-standing hatred of Israel and, more blatantly, America.  In 1987, he told an interviewer that U.S....

Oliver Stone criticized for remarks about Jews

Half-Jewish director complained about 'Jewish domination of the media'

Ron's note to Oliver Stone: What did you apologize for? For saying someone suffered more than the Jews?

"This weekend he amped it up a notch. The controversial director complained to the London's Sunday Times of "Jewish domination of the media" and claimed that Hitler did more damage to Russia than he did to the Jews. "Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people, 25 or 30 million [killed]." Almost 24 million Russians killed; See,

Stone, who is half-Jewish, told the Times: "There's a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment, the most powerful lobby in Washington. Israel has f---ed up United States foreign policy for years."

And, if there is anyone with any doubt to the claim that Jews dominate the U.S. media, kindly and promptly direct them to this Straight Talk top-notch documentary, to remove all doubt:

Pro-Israeli Bias in the U.S. Media:

And another thing: Do Jews dominate U.S. foreign policy? Perhaps you should ask Stephen Hadley, former National Security Advisor to the President of the United States, then George W. Bush. Stephen "I Forgot" Hadley is the guy who (ignored CIA warnings) and inserted the infamously false sixteen words into Bush's 2003 State of the Union speech, claiming Saddam was trying to procure yellow-cake uranium from Niger. (which proved to be untrue) In fact, prior to the speech, the CIA warned Hadley  NOT to use those very words Hadley wrote into Bush's 2003 SOTU speech.

When confronted by reporters as to why Hadley put those 16 words in the speech anyway, Hadley replied:

"I forgot."

Bush aide admits he was warned on uranium
By Marian Wilkinson
United States Correspondent
July 24 2003

A top White House official has admitted that he was warned in two
written memos and a phone call by the CIA director that intelligence on
Iraq seeking uranium in Africa was faulty.

But Stephen Hadley, the White House's Deputy National Security Adviser,
said he did not remove the claim from President George Bush's State of
the Union speech in January.

Bush Aide Fires Back at Critics On Justification for War in Iraq

Bristling from fresh assaults on its justification for war, the White House dispatched national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley to the briefing room to issue a rebuttal to "the notion that somehow the administration manipulated prewar intelligence about Iraq."


Update at 10:30 pm:

A furious Haim Saban has mounted a campaign to get Showtime to cancel its planned airing of Oliver Stone's 10-part series, "A Secret History of America," in the wake of anti-Jewish remarks by the outspoken director.

The billionaire and outspoken media mogul told TheWrap he had contacted CBS chief Leslie Moonves to urge him to do so.

He said that WME chairman Ari Emanuel had also called CBS privately to urge the series be pulled.

Stone has previously said the 10-part  "Secret History" series would put Hitler and Stalin "in context," and offer an alternative crash course to the "grossly inadequate history" taught by American schools and proffered by mass media.

CBS, Moonves and Emanuel did not respond to an email seeking comment.

Saban also said he had called CAA partner Bryan Lourd, Stone's agent, to follow the example of Emanuel, who recently dropped Mel Gibson in the wake of the actor's latest racist tirade.

Saban said he considers Stone to be "clearly an anti-Semite and an anti-American."

Stone's apology "is transparently fake," Saban said in an interview with TheWrap. "He has been consistent in his anti-American and anti-Semitic remarks. I respect his First Amendment rights. I hope he respects mine."


Israeli-American billionaire and media mogul Haim Saban isn't buying Oliver Stone's apology.

In venting his outrage, Saban has become the first big Hollywood name to publicly criticize Stone for his controversial remarks about the Holocaust.

"This guy should be helped in joining Mel Gibson into the land of retirement, where he can preach his anti-Americanism and anti-Semitism in the wilderness where he belongs," Saban told TheWrap in an email.

Stone kicked off a media firestorm over the weekend for telling a reporter from London's Sunday Times that Adolf Hitler, the subject of his upcoming documentary, did more damage to Russia than he did to the Jews. He also stated that the U.S.'s support for Israel is the result of Jewish domination of the media.

Stone apologized Monday afternoon saying his comments were "clumsy" and that contrary to his earlier remarks, Jews didn't control the media or any industry for that matter.

That wasn't good enough for Saban.

"His love of [Venezuelan president Hugo] Chavez has always bothered me, but here he went too far, and his apology is sooooo transparently fake," Saban wrote. "He should be embarrassed by it, and has certainly done nothing to calm my outrage at this guy's positions."

Saban, a major stakeholder in Univision and chairman of Saban Capital Group, said he is spreading the word among his Hollywood friends to avoid working with Stone.

"Anyone who works with this guy, should be ashamed of him/herself, and shouldn't share that fact with their neighbors, or kids for that matter," Saban said.

It's not certain that his appeal will reach sympathetic ears, as others in the movie business seem more willing to move on following Stone's mea culpa.


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Mort Zuckerman: U.S. occupations stink, but Israel’s is great


The Latest from Mondoweiss

Link to Mondoweiss

Notice the pattern in the Israeli stories?

Posted: 27 Jul 2010 08:27 PM PDT

From the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs' recent report on the Gaza conflict, absolving a soldier who shot at a group of terrified women who were waving white flags as they left their homes in an eastern Gaza village at 7 in the morning on Jan. 13, 2009. The soldier shot one of the women in the temple, killing her:

[A] group of local women unexpectedly began approaching the IDF
position, and the soldiers suspected a tactic that could conceal a gunman or suicide bomber. One of the soldiers fired a warning shot to prevent the group from advancing further. A ricochet from this warning shot apparently struck Rouhiya al-Najjar, killing her...

The MAG concluded that the soldier fired his weapon in light of the security need to keep the group from approaching the IDF post and his shot was not intentionally directed to hit or harm civilians. Thus, while acknowledging the lamentable results of the incident, the MAG closed the case without filing a
criminal indictment against the soldier.

From the New York Times, today, offering the Israeli explanation for why security forces shot Emily Henochowicz in the head with a tear gas canister on May 31, 2010, fracturing her skull and blinding her left eye.

Israeli Ministry of Defense reject[ed] any demand for compensation or payment of hospital costs. The reason, the ministry stated, was that the protest was violent and that the tear-gas canister was not fired directly but had ricocheted off a concrete barricade... While expressing sorrow over Ms. Henochowicz's injury, the ministry added...

First ricochet spotted by Norman Finkelstein.

Mort Zuckerman: U.S. occupations stink, but Israel's is great

Posted: 27 Jul 2010 08:07 PM PDT

Here's Mort Zuckerman at US News & World Report saying that only Israel can defend its borders (wherever they are) and therefore we can't have a two-state solution, and for security reasons the Palestinians must exist in political paralysis forever.

This is straight-up Israel lobby stuff (Kosovo and Tajikistan and Pakistan get a state, never the Palestinians) but what's bizarre is Zuckerman's casual derision for American military efforts in the region even as he applauds Israel's efforts.

He says that in Lebanon, 1982, "a few hundred French and American service members" were killed in a failed U.N. effort. True, but weirdly cold; is there any acknowledgment of the importance of that event? 241 Americans died; Wikipedia says, "The attack remains the deadliest single attack on Americans overseas since World War II."

Also, notice Zuckerman's casual reference to the "failure" of NATO troops in Afghanistan. I agree, it's a failure. But the Israeli occupation is a roaring success? Zuckerman:

Paradoxically, the presence of U.N. forces creates an obstacle to Israel's ability to defend itself, by itself. Look at what happened to the force that was dispatched to Lebanon in August 1982. The U.N. mission was made up of units from Britain, France, Italy, and the United States, but in October 1983 both the French paratrooper barracks and the U.S. Marine headquarters were attacked by Shiite suicide bombers, killing a few hundred French and American service members. Within a year, both forces withdrew from Lebanon, reflecting the reality that foreign forces will quickly leave the theater when attacked. The states that volunteer them soon lose political support for keeping them there.

...Israel must prepare for the possibility that even after agreements are signed, and a demilitarized Palestinian state is established, groups such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad would act in contravention and an international force would likely not take action. Iranian-backed rocket assaults against Israel would place its coastal plain in range and make Israel uninhabitable. And if U.N. forces were present on Palestinian territory, the Israeli army couldn't open fire against the enemy without first verifying the location of the U.N. personnel. It would thus be even more difficult for Israel to act against terrorists.

There is an old saying: "Nobody ever washes a rental car." Only Israel would have the will to defend itself. When you think about the failure of NATO forces in Afghanistan, you have to wonder about the efficacy of NATO troops in this theater....

Israel has prudently maintained its uncompromising policy of disarming the terrorist infrastructure within and along its borders. But Israel's success in this relies on high-quality, precise military intelligence, along with full freedom of operation to enter Palestinian city centers and villages to locate and destroy bomb-producing factories. This is the only way that Israel can deal with the asymmetrical threat of terrorist groups able to attack Israel at will.

Until this same kind of security is assured, the two-state solution is not a solution at all, but a dramatic escalation of risk.

Nema Abu Said, a 33-year-old mother of five, killed in Gaza flechette attack

Posted: 27 Jul 2010 01:30 PM PDT

And other news from Today in Palestine:

Land and Property Theft and Destruction/Ethnic Cleansing

Israel demolishes Bedouin village
About 300 residents of a village in the Negev desert have lost homes and possessions.

Alert: Thousands of police evacuating and demolishing the village of El-Araqib in the Israeli Negev
Thousands of police are in the village of el-Araqib right now – beginning a mass evacuation, demolition, and erasure of this historical Bedouin village. if you have access to the media, please send them to this village as soon as possible! the village of el-Araqib is between Rahat and Beer Sheva, and in a location that the Goldberg commission deemed outside of the areas allowed for the Negev Arabs… an area designated only for Jews… the JNF (Jewish National Fund) is planting a forest on this village lands – to make sure that the Bedouin cannot live on their village lands or use them for agriculture. the villagers turned to the israeli courts, as the JNF were planting this forest at the bequest of the Israeli government, but against Israeli law… the people of el-Araqib won the court battle… but this morning it seems that the Government of Israel has started a war — of the Government against its own citizens. for more information:  Dr. Yeela Raanan, Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages (RCUV). +972 54 7487005

1000s of Israeli police said to be evacuating/erasing historical Bedouin village, Philip Weiss
"Thousands of police are in the Negev desert village of el-Araqib right now (5:30 a.m. in Israel), beginning a mass evacuation, demolition, and erasure of this historical Bedouin village," writes Yeela Raanan of the Regional Council for the Unrecognized Villages (RCUV).  "If you have access to the media, please send them to this village as soon as possible! The village of el-Araqib is between Rahat and Beer Sheva, and in a location that the Goldberg commission deemed outside of the areas allowed for the Negev Arabs... an area designated only for Jews...

JCSER: "Hundreds of Palestinians Losing Residency Rights In Jerusalem"
The Jerusalem Center for Social and Economical Rights (JCSER) issued a report detailing the latest numbers of Palestinians who lost their residency rights in occupied East Jerusalem due to Israeli restrictions and measures.

Settlers block West Bank roads to protest building freeze
Settlers blockaded 11 intersections across the West Bank on Monday evening in response to the home demolition on Monday at the Givat Ronen outpost.

Israel's New Land Grab Master Plan, Stephen Lendman
The new plan updates older ones, going back to the first, what Israeli historian Ilan Pappe documented in his 2006 book, "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine," on David Ben-Gurion's Plan D (Dalet in Hebrew), his final master plan following Plans A, B and C, what Palestinians call the Nakba, the catastrophe, commemorated annually to never forget.  By bombarding and besieging villages and population centers, destroying communities, and expelling or killing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, it planned an exclusive Jewish state, excluding Arabs by any means, including mass-murder, dispossession, and persecution, ongoing to this day, what Palestinians heroically resist.  It took six months to complete, expelling or slaughtering about 800,000 people, and destroying 531 villages and 11 urban neighborhoods in Tel-Aviv, Haifa, Jerusalem and other cities. It was barbarous ethnic cleansing, Palestinians shown no mercy, including women and children, yet it was just the beginning, much more yet to come, including new ethnic cleaning plans.

Solidarity/Activism/Boycott, Sanctions & Divestment
Ahmad Burnat needs your support to get out of prison
At 1:30 in the morning on July 19th armed Israeli soldiers drove into our village, Bil'in, under the cover of the pitch black night, and raided the house of my friend and well known activist Wajeeh Burnat, who was featured in the documentary Bil'in Habibti. This time, the raid was conducted to take Ahmad, his 17 year-old son.  It is not often that we ask for such help, but we turn to you today asking for a donation, large or small, to help in securing his release.

Report: Christian Peacemaker Team In Hebron
Hebron – PNN - Finding the way to the Christian Peacemaker Team (or CPT for short) office was not easy. We eventually found our way down Chicken street, so called for the chicken market which used to flourish just a couple of years ago. Now, every shop is closed down. At the end of the street is a 6 foot high stretch of barbed wire, with around 8 feet of concrete behind it.  Our guide, a local named Salaam, shows us a doorway, right next to the wire, where a sign clearly says 'Doctor's surgery'. However, with further inspection, there is a doorbell with CPT written above it, next to the rather misleading sign. After around 5 minutes of waiting, a call comes down to, "come on up."

Turkey working to prevent Lebanese sail to Gaza
According to Israeli officials, Ankara deems additional flotillas pointless after partial lifting of blockade on Gaza. 'Turkey wants to lower its profile, let diplomacy take its course,' official says.,7340,L-3925690,00.html

Violence and Aggression
Israel army fires tear gas at funeral
Hebron – Ma'an – Israeli forces raided a cemetery during a woman's funeral processionnorth of the West Bank city of Hebron on Sunday.  Soldiers chased the mourners into the cemetery in Beit Ummar and fired tear-gas canisters at them, Palestine Solidarity Project spokesman Muhammad Ayyad Awad said.  An Israeli army spokeswoman said the soldiers fired in response to rocks which were thrown at them from the funeral procession.

Army Invades Beit Forik
Israeli soldiers invaded on Monday at night Beit Forik village, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus after closing all of its entrances.

IOF attacks Burin villagers in efforts to protect settlers

July 27th, 2010-- Israeli Occupation Forces arrested four Palestinians and wounded three others after a group of approximately 20 settlers attacked the home of Ibrahim Eid, which is located close to Bracha, a new Israeli settlement in the area.

Settlers riot in Burin, shooting and setting fire to olive trees
At 11:30 yesterday, 26th July 2010, settlers from the Berakha Shomronim settlement began shooting at Palestinians in the village of Burin and setting fire to crops on their land.  Trouble flared when Israeli authorities ordered the demolition of a structure in an illegal settler outpost because of the freeze on settlement construction. Israeli police failed to contain the settler riot which followed and closed Huwara checkpoint, near Nablus, in response.

Settlers launch new attack

Nablus - Ma'an - On Monday evening, settlers launched their second attack of the day on a northern West Bank village, setting fire to land and olive trees and throwing rocks., Ambulances and firefighters rushed to Burin village to control the flames apparently started by residents of the illegal Yizhar settlement, Palestinian Authority settlement affairs officer Ghassan Doughlas said.

No words to console Gaza child after mother is killed by Israeli shelling
Around 8:45pm on 13 July, 2010, a few of the women of the Abu Said family in the northern Gaza Strip were enjoying the cool of the evening in the courtyard in front of their house. They heard a muffled shooting sound, followed soon after by another, and then by a loud buzzing noise, as if a swarm of insects was approaching at full speed. Vittorio Arrigoni reports from the occupied Gaza Strip.

Revolving Door For Israeli Criminals
Police release rabbi arrested for inciting to kill non-Jews
Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, head of the Od Yosef Hai Yeshiva, released from police custody hours after being arrested for encouraging the killing of non-Jews.

PA police arrest 6 in Beit Ummar
Hebron - Ma'an - Police arrested five residents for using fireworks and one for firing a weapon in the southern West Bank village of Beit Ummar on Monday.  A police statement said the gun, which was fired in celebration, was seized and warned of the dangers of fireworks and weapons.

Returning doctor detained by Israeli intelligence
Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli authorities detained a doctor returning Monday from five years of medical study in Ukraine, witnesses said.  Bahaa Abdullah Jaradat was taken by Israeli intelligence officers at the Allenby crossing on the West Bank-Jordan border, onlookers said.  It is not known where Jaradat, from Sa'ir in the southern West Bank Hebron district, was taken.

The Siege (Gaza & West Bank)/Humanitarian and Human Rights/Restriction of Movement
Goods – Needs Vs. Supply – June 27 – July 24

Cameron calls Gaza 'prison camp' (AFP)
AFP - Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday urged Israel to lift its blockade of the Gaza Strip, slamming the current state of the Palestinian enclave as a "prison camp."*

Clean Water for Gaza: Maryam's Story
Early last year, Israel destroyed much of Gaza's rudimentary water infrastructure in a protracted bombing campaign. Since then, an ongoing economic blockade has prevented Gazans from importing materials they need to rebuild the water system. Contaminated drinking water is putting people at risk for cholera, typhoid and other diseases.

Taking water to the Jordan - International humanitarians deliver water to parched Palestinians
Date: 26 Jul 2010, YANOUN, West Bank, A few days ago, I was handing out bottles of water within a few miles of Israel/Palestine's only major river, the Jordan., The village of Al Fasayel lies in a desert landscape, a contrast to nearby Israeli settlements, which have access to almost unlimited water. Al Fasayel itself has not had water on tap for over seven weeks.

Gaza kids struggle to leave their world of silence

GAZA, July 26 (Xinhua) -- The four-year-old Gaza boy Noor stuttered when he tried to utter the word "baba". A deaf specialist, sitting next to him, was teaching him to say the easy word, hoping to help the boy leave the world of silence.  Noor and another eight hearing-impaired children were in one room with their specialist mentor who produced several musical sounds and slowly moved her tongue and lips to teach them the correct pronunciation of the early childhood expressions.

Life on hold as construction material restricted into Gaza

BEIT LAHIYA, Gaza Strip -- Salah Jalal Abu Leila lives in a crowded tent with his family of 12 beside a dusty main street in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahiya; they have been living here for more than a year.  "Our home was completely destroyed in the war. I worked for 16 years in Israel to build my home and in one attack the Israelis destroyed everything I worked to build," Abu Leila says.

Political/Other Developments
Israel signals new cooperation with UN over Gaza flotilla (The Christian Science Monitor)
The Christian Science Monitor - Israel appears to have improved its cooperation with the United Nations over its controversial Gaza policy after coming under pressure from activists seeking to break Israel's sea blockade of the Hamas-controlled territory. The latest fleet of activist ships is preparing to set sail from Lebanon.*

U.S. warns Abbas: Direct talks or lose backing for state
U.S. President Barack Obama may not help set up a Palestinian state if PA President Mahmoud Abbas does not enter direct negotiations with Israel soon, according to an internal Palestinian document.

Hamas warns Abbas to reject direct peace talks (AFP)

AFP - Hamas on Tuesday warned Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas not to relaunch direct peace talks with Israel, which it said "would only serve the Zionist occupation."*

Abbas to ask for extension to proximity talks
Bethlehem – Ma'an – President Mahmoud Abbas will request an extension to US-mediated indirect talks with Israel from the Arab Peace Initiative Committee when in Cairo on Thursday, a PLO official said Monday.  Executive Committee member Hannah Amireh told Ma'an radio that Abbas would ask for talks to continue until 8 September, one month over the 4-month deadline sanctioned by the Arab League.

Fatah lawmakers to assess rumored cabinet shuffle
Ramallah – Ma'an – Palestinian lawmakers affiliated to Fatah are scheduled to hold a meeting Tuesday in Ramallah in the central West Bank to discuss the expected PA government's reshuffle and other developments.  Azzam Al-Ahmad, speaker of the Fatah bloc in the Palestinian Legislative Council, will head the meeting which all Fatah lawmakers based in the West Bank are expected to attend.

Report: Mitchell tells Abbas Bibi here to stay
George Mitchell urges Abbas to enter direct talks, says Netanyahu unlikely to be replaced soon, according to Palestinian document.,7340,L-3925526,00.html

Mishaal Explains Hamas's Strategy in Dealing with the Israeli Occupation
DAMASCUS, (PIC)– Khaled Mishaal, the head of Hamas's political bureau, has explained Wednesday that his Movement follows firm and well-studied strategy in dealing with the Israeli occupation, the internal Palestinian social fabric, and the international community.  In an interview with the Jordanian Al-Sabeel newspaper, Mishaal said that his Movement doesn't reject negotiations with the enemy as an option but he explained that the Israeli occupation is an extraordinary condition being a foreign body implanted in Palestinian uprooting millions of Palestinian people out of their homes at gunpoint. Such a situation made negotiation with the Israeli occupation as the only option something unacceptable because it was proven that negotiations without having force to back your stand is a waste of time, he elaborated.

Israeli, Jordan leaders discuss Palestinian talks (Reuters)
Reuters - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jordan's King Abdullah discussed on Tuesday ways of launching direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians, a Jordanian palace official said.*

Israel PM meets king on surprise Jordan visit (AFP)

AFP - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held talks with Jordan's King Abdullah II on the Middle East peace process during a previously unannounced visit to Amman on Tuesday, the palace said.*

Other News
Gazans want "Marshall Plan", Israel policy falls short (Reuters)
Reuters - Wael El Wadiah's Gaza snack food factories once employed 250 people. Today, denied access to the West Bank market by Israel, he employs a few dozen workers in what is left of a business built up over 25 years.*

Hamas leader says group considering Gaza draft
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — The top security official in Hamas-ruled Gaza said Tuesday he is considering setting up a bigger military force, first with volunteers and eventually with conscripts as well.  Such a step could further tighten Hamas' control of Gaza and deepen the rift with the group's Western-backed rivals in the West Bank. Hamas seized Gaza by force in 2007, wresting control from forces loyal to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.  Currently, Hamas has a paid security force of about 18,000.

Paying the price of lies:  Arab man convicted of raping Jewish sex partner because he lied to her speaks out
One of the most prominent features of Sabar Kashour, with the exception of his large puppy eyes, is the presence of a massive wedding ring on his finger. Had this ring been on his finger in September 2008, he might have avoided the entanglement that currently stirs up great emotion among members of Israel's legal system and human rights group.,7340,L-3925330,00.html

Law providing released soldiers with free higher education in settlements might damage Israeli academia
Gush Shalom - As if it was not enough that Israeli youths are conscripted for military service often spent in daily oppression of the Palestinians, from now on also after discharge they will be directed towards an `academic` strengthening of the occupation, settlement and dispossession of Palestinians.

Press freedoms fall victim to Fatah, Hamas disunity
The split between the the Hamas-run Gaza wing and the Fatah-run West Bank wing of the Palestinian Authority (PA) has overshadowed every aspect of public life, including, many rights groups have documented, infringements on press freedoms and the work of journalists. Rami Almeghari reports from Gaza for The Electronic Intifada.

Foreign investors took time off from Israel in 2009
Foreign direct investment in Israel fell by 64% in 2009 to only $3.9 billion, down from $10.9 billion in 2008. Israel fell from 54th place in 2008 to 80th in 2009 in terms of FDI.

MESS Report / Crash raises questions over Israel's ageing helicopter fleet
Decisions to replace helicopters, like the CH-53 that crashed in Romania on Monday, are complex, involve heavy costs and take a long time.

Mubarak's Racist Pen Pal: Mubarak says 'fully recovered' in letter to Rabbi Yosef
Egyptian president responds to letter sent by Shas spiritual leader inquiring after his health, says he's in best condition 'contrary to several reports in Israeli press'.,7340,L-3925720,00.html

Oliver Stone apologizes for saying Jews control the media

Less than 24 hours after Sunday Times interview, in which Oscar-winning director says Hitler's actions should be 'put into context', Stone issues apology.

Analysis/Opinion/Human Interest
Abu Mazen and Obama's Peace Pantomime, Tony Karon
Obama is unable to offer Abbas an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, because that is not what Netanyahu has in mind. Indeed, recent reports suggest that during his meeting last weekend with Egypt's President, Hosni Mubarak, the Israeli prime minister presented a proposed map of a Palestinian State that fell well short of the Arab League's proposal for peace. Nor is Netanyahu under pressure from the US to offer more. In fact, Netanyahu believes that he can bend Washington to his will, as he so memorably explained to a family of Israeli settlers in a recently surfaced video clip from 2001: "I know what America is. America is a thing you can move very easily, move it in the right direction."

Israel's Secret Police Exposed, Jonathan Cook - Nazareth
The arrest by Israel's internal security service, the Shin Bet, of an Israeli Jew accused of killing at least four Palestinians has thrown a rare light on the secret police, including attempts by one of its agents to enlist the accused to assassinate a Palestinian spiritual leader.  Chaim Pearlman, who was arrested a fortnight ago, has been charged with murdering four Palestinians in Jerusalem and injuring at least seven others in a series of knife attacks that began more than a decade ago. Police are still investigating whether he was involved in additional attacks.

Joel Rubin: Swiftboating Sestak on Israel
A new right-wing neoconservative attack group on Israel policy has been formed by the same ideologues that brought you the war in Iraq. This group -- the Emergency Committee for Israel -- has decided to make Pennsylvania's upcoming Senate race its pivotal moment to enter national politics. It has done so by running television ads against Democratic Senate candidate Joe Sestak that turn Israel into a political wedge issue, cynically playing on the worst fears of Americans who do not share their policy views on Israel.

Progressive Brian Lehrer channels intolerant rightwingers in grilling a Muslim leader, Philip Weiss
WNYC radio host Brian Lehrer is progressive. He reflects liberal Manhattan values and he takes on rightwingers on countless issues, gun control, gay rights, feminism, economic justice. But not when it comes to the Middle East. Last week Lehrer did an interview with a woman who supports the mosque at Ground Zero. Daisy Khan, executive director for the American Society for Muslim Advancement, is married to Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is leading the mosque plans; and anti-Muslim prejudice suffused Lehrer's interview. He channeled Rick Lazio, the Republican candidate for N.Y. governor, who has made attacks on the Cordoba mosque a centerpiece of his campaign.

L.A. Times: 'Many' Palestinians 'prefer the one-state solution', Alex Kane
The one-state solution debate is picking up steam and media coverage in the wake of Israeli journalist Noam Sheizaf's Ha'aretz article on prominent right-wing calls for the incorporation of the West Bank into Israel. For more on the significance of Sheizaf's article and the growing calls from the right for some type of one-state solution, I would recommend reading Ali Abunimah's analysis here.

The Forgotten American, ROGER COHEN
TROY, New York — The Dogans were a quiet family little noticed by their neighbors here in upstate New York. Ahmet Dogan had come to the area from Turkey to study accounting at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  He was a serious student; the Dogans did little entertaining. But when their younger son, Furkan, was born in 1991, the family threw a party and a neighbor recalled a toast "to the first U.S. citizen in the family."  Furkan Dogan would live just two years in Troy, returning to Turkey with his family in 1993. But he was proud of his American passport and dreamt of coming back after completing medical school. Five Israeli bullets — at least two of them to the head — ended that dream on May 31. Dogan was 19.

Caterpillar Caught in Web Of Middle East Politics
At first glance, the contention that a construction equipment company in Peoria, Ill., is implicated in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems strange. But earlier in July, the largest Presbyterian denomination in the United States adopted a resolution that strongly criticized Caterpillar Inc., the manufacturer whose tractors, bulldozers and mining equipment help build and farm America, for its role in Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands.

Monday: 28 Iraqis Killed, 74 Wounded
Despite extra precautions, belligerents detonated a car bomb in Karbala. A separate car bomb destroyed the al-Arabiya studios and a lawmaker's home in Baghdad. At least 28 Iraqis were killed and 74 more were wounded in those two attacks. Curiously, no other attacks in Iraq were reported. Meanwhile, members of the Iraqiya party refuse to allow the political impasse preventing the formation of the next government to become "internationalized."

Iraq's parliament fails to convene as scheduled (AP)
AP - A lawmaker from Iraq's largest Shiite bloc says a parliament session expected Tuesday will not be held as discussions faltered again over the formation of a new government.*

Iraq's political impasse is a bad omen for the Arabs
In June 2004, I was invited for a dinner at a restaurant near an airport in the Gulf. I saw a group of bodyguards dressed in traditional Gulf attire entering the restaurant. Before I knew it, we were sitting next to a table whose guest of honor was Iyad Allawi, the newly appointed prime minister of Iraq, who was being hosted by the foreign minister of that Gulf country. I witnessed how warm their relationship seemed to be. They were exchanging laughs as though they were two old friends, catching up after a prolonged absence.

Iraqi Shiite group promoted 'virtue' by the sword (AFP)
AFP - A group of masked, sword-wielding Shiite youths aiming to "promote virtue and fight vice" terrorised a southern Iraqi city from early July until its members were rounded up.*

Iraq fights another form of violence - in the home (Reuters)
Reuters - As the violence of sectarian warfare ebbs, Iraq's government has taken tentative first steps to combat another kind of violence -- domestic abuse, primarily against women.*

IRAQ: My Baghdad field trip
Fifteen kidnapped people released, 238 raids, 14,008 searches, 227 arrests (including 126 without warrants), 18 mortars found, 213 weapons found, eight explosive belts found, four terrorists killed, 167 IEDs dismantled, 18 sticky IEDs dismantled and one car bomb dismantled." I was reading the achievements of an Iraqi army division in the four months leading up to June. I went on reading: "The enemy activities: 24 clashes, 46 IEDs, 38 sticky IEDs, nine car bombs, 10 bodies found, 15 assassinations, nine houses exploded, three grenade attacks, three explosive belts."We were spending our day with a general, who narrated his achievements before Western and Iraqi reporters. "We were honored by the killing of the heads of terrorism Abu Omar al Baghdadi and Abu Ayoub al Masri," he said.

Lebanon arrests alleged German spy
Engineer accused of passing sensitive information to handlers.  A German engineer was arrested in Lebanon Tuesday on suspicion of espionage in the country's latest attempt to root out alleged Israeli spies, Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar reported.  The suspected spy, reportedly named Manfred Peter Mog, was employed at a cheese factory in the Bekaa valley in eastern Lebanon, were he was in charge of machine maintenance. He was suspected of using transmitters to pass sensitive information to his handlers, according to the report.

Natural gas could lead to new Lebanon-Israel war (AP)
AP - The discovery of large natural gas reserves under the waters of the eastern Mediterranean could potentially mean a huge economic windfall for Israel and Lebanon, both resource-poor nations — if it doesn't spark new war between them.*

Lebanese Druze leader warns against sectarian tension
BEIRUT, July 26 (Xinhua) -- Lebanese Druze leader Walid Jumblat on Monday called for dialogue among political factions in order to defuse rising tensions.  Jumblat told Al Anbaa newspaper that dialogue is the only way to preserve "calmness" in Lebanon.  "For those who forget, let's remember that we were talking to each other at the peak of political divisions and the period of sharp tensions," said the Lebanese MP.  "Why don't we return to dialogue in order to prevent Lebanon from sliding again toward divisions and sectarian tension," he added.  Jumblat said that the capability to return to dialogue is possible if the factions showed the "political will."

Saudi king to visit Lebanon amid tensions: govt official (AFP)
AFP - Saudi King Abdullah will visit Lebanon on Friday and will urge rival parties to exercise restraint amid tensions over the possible implication of Hezbollah in the murder of ex-premier Rafiq Hariri, a government official said on Monday.*

Egyptian FM warns against harming Lebanon's stability
BEIRUT: Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu al-Gheit warned on Monday against undermining Lebanon's stability by resorting to force to resolve regional and international disputes. Abu al-Gheit made his statements ahead of scheduled talks between Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdel-Aziz in Egypt on Wednesday.

Ghanem: Labor Ministry will boost Palestinians' conditions
BEIRUT: West Bekaa MP Robert Ghanem conveyed assurances by the labor minister that the government will enhance the living and working conditions of Palestinians in Lebanon, on Monday.

West should discard carrot-stick policy before dialogue with Iran: MP
TEHRAN, July 27 (Xinhua) -- A senior Iranian lawmaker said Tuesday that the West should first discard the carrot and stick policy prior to any dialogue on Iran's nuclear program, local media reported.  "The European Union (EU)'s call for the continuation of nuclear talks with Tehran is in direct contradiction to its recently approved package of anti-Iran sanctions," head of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission of Iran's Majlis (Parliament) Alaeddin Boroujerdi was quoted as saying by Mehr news agency.

Iran: U.S. will likely attack 2 Mideast countries within 3 months
Speaking on state television, Iranian President Ahmadinejad also list of demands before Iran will resume nuclear talks.

EU to hit Iran with 'toughest ever' sanctions, diplomats say
Proposed EU sanctions are understood to go further than current UN sanctions, calling for a ban on 'dual-use' goods which can be used for both military and civilian purposes.

Iran won't trade with countries imposing sanctions
"Any country that creates limitations for Iran's assets, we will stop trading with them," Hamid Borhani, deputy head of the Central Bank of Iran, told the semi-official Mehr news agency. "We have to protect our assets."

Iran delivers response to IAEA
"Through submitting an official letter, I expressed the Islamic Republic of Iran's readiness to engage in negotiations over fuel [provisions] for the Tehran nuclear reactor," Soltanieh said.

Pipes: To Get Obama To Act, Netanyahu Should Threaten To Nuke Iran
"I think it's realistic for the Israelis to attack and do real damage," Pipes said.

U.S. and other World News
US Attack Kills 52 In Afghan Village
A Nato rocket attack on a village in Afghanistan last week killed 52 civilians, including women and children, the office of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has said in a statement.

Download Afghan War Diary, 2004-2010,_2004-2010

Wikileaks Afghanistan files: download the key incidents as a spreadsheet
Key incidents from the Wikileaks Afghanistan war logs selected by Guardian writers. As a spreadsheet, with co-ordinates

US criticises Wikileaks release of Afghan war documents
The White House has condemned the leaks of more than 90,000 classified documents on the war in Afghanistan posted by the whistleblower website, Wikileaks. The Pentagon earlier called the release "criminal", and said it could take weeks to assess any damage that the leaks may have caused. Rosiland Jordan reports on Washington's reaction to what is now being called the Afghan war logs. (July 27, 2010)

Documents leak leaves White House on defensive about Afghanistan policy
There are few bombshells, but the volume of data and the focus on the conduct of the war are likely to embolden critics at a time when Congress has expressed doubts about Obama's Afghanistan policy. The leaking of a trove of U.S. documents has put the Obama administration on the defensive about its Afghanistan policy and may deepen doubts in Congress about prospects for turning around the faltering war effort.,0,6215714.story

WikiLeaks emerges as powerful online whistle-blower
WikiLeaks website and founder Julian Assange operate in relative secrecy even as they seek to publish classified or private documents to spark public debate. Partnering with news media adds new heft. Though propelled to fame by its recent disclosures about the U.S. military, WikiLeaks has homed in on targets as wide-ranging as corruption in the family of a former Kenyan ruler, alleged illegal activities by a Swiss bank and Sarah Palin's private e-mail account.,0,7443621.story

Leading article: A light shone on the dark side of this war
The tens of thousands of secret US military documents passed to the Wikileaks website paint a far grimmer picture of the war in Afghanistan than our political leaders have ever conveyed. They show that Western forces are often scandalously careless of civilian life in that country. Some 140 incidents are recorded in which Afghan civilians were killed. They died in misdirected airstrikes, shooting sprees by panicking troops, or raids by Special Forces. And it not only the US military which has been responsible for such carnage. Polish, French, German and British troops are also recorded as killing civilians. While it is impossible to verify all that is contained in these documents, it is clear enough that appalling events have gone unreported by Western forces.

The Wikileaks 'source': Former army analyst facing 52 years in prison
As governments around the world assessed the damage done by Wikileaks's Afghanistan war logs, thoughts also turned to a lonely US Army private, who goes by the screen-name bradass87, currently behind bars in Kuwait.

Pakistan ex-intelligence chief denies aiding Talban

US officials believe that the intelligence agency of ally Pakistan has been secretly supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan, leaked records say. Wikileaks, the online whistleblower organisation, published more than 90,000 secret US military documents on Sunday, revealing alleged support for the Taliban in their conflict with US-led Nato troops. The unverified files say that Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, the country's spy service, has been holding strategy sessions with Taliban leaders to aid them. Al Jazeera interviewed to the man mentioned in that report - retired Lieutenant General Hamid Gul, the former head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence who accused of being actively involved in supporting the Afghan Taliban. He denies the allegations against the ISI and says the sources of the leaks have ulterior political motives. [July 26, 2010]

Digesting the Wikileaks document dump, Stephen M. Walt by Stephen M. Walt
I'm just starting to digest the Wikileaks material on Afghanistan, but suffice it to say that it confirms all my misgivings about our current commitment there.  As I've said since I started blogging, the stakes in Afghanistan are not worth the current level of cost and effort, and the prerequisites for a meaningful "victory" are lacking.  Obama made a basic error when he escalated the war effort (not once but twice), and our best hope now is to shift from a largely military strategy towards one that reduces our military footprint, emphasizes power-sharing, political reconciliation, and broader diplomatic engagement with other regional stake-holders.   If you want a quick survey of other reactions, look at the digest offered by Andrew Sullivan here.

Who will explain the havoc wreaked to the families still reeling with grief? | Rachel Reid
Since the period covered by these leaked war logs, the situation on the ground has got worse - not better - for Afghan civilians.  Seven children killed by rockets in a mosque, a 16-year-old girl abused by a district police chief, more than 80 civilians killed in bomb attacks written off as insurgents. This dismal glimpse into the relentless chaos of war, seen through the hazy eyes of international soldiers in Afghanistan, comes from the massive leak of military field reports. And while US department of defence officials were quick to say that things have changed, this is sadly only half true.

Revealed: Document Exposes US Double-talk On Lockerbie
The document, acquired by a well placed US source, threatens to undermine Obama's claim last week that all Americans were "surprised, disappointed and angry" to learn of Megrahi's release.

Inside Story - Al-Qaeda's French hostage killing
A French national held hostage by al-Qaeda's North African wing has been confirmed dead. Seventy-eight-year old Michel Germaneau was kidnapped in Niger some three months ago by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM). Is this killing a show of force? And how much of a threat is this al-Qaeda-affiliated armed group becoming?

Jeremy Ben-Ami's main argument against BDS is it doesn't affirm Israel's right to exist as Jewish homeland

Posted: 27 Jul 2010 12:01 PM PDT

Here's something important I've missed: a debate of Boycott/Divestment/Sanctions in the July issue of Tikkun magazine, with Jeremy Ben-Ami of J Street and editor Michael Lerner, against, and on the pro side, Maya Wind of the Israeli refusenik group Shministim, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb and Rebecca Vilkomerson of Jewish Voice for Peace. The debate is not online (but I gather you can find some of it here.)

A few points: Hat's off to Michael Lerner for giving so much space to this important debate. Next time maybe he will have the debate with Palestinians, who also have something to say about this? Omar Barghouti is very articulate, and knows the issues backward and forward.

The piece is notable for the three arguments Jeremy Ben-Ami makes against BDS that I set out in excerpts below: 1, BDS activists must start by acknowledging Israel's right to exist as a Jewish homeland with full equality for citizens, except who gets to "return" there; 2, BDS freaks out Israelis and we have to treat them with kid gloves so they willingly make concessions; 3, BDS activists paint this as a one sided story when Israelis and Palestinians are both victims and oppressors. It's equal.

As for the first argument, Ben-Ami makes it many times, it is a kind of talking point, and sounds a little like Netanyahu demanding that there will be no negotiations until the Palestinians accept the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state. But BDS is a Palestinian-led movement, Palestinians are members of a dispossessed people, and you can't really expect them to begin by declaring their dispossessor's right to be a Jewish homeland, built on their families' lands. To his credit, Ben-Ami does insist on full equality for all Israeli citizens, but in the same breath he says Palestinians must entirely give up the right of return. While, presumably, Jews, including those of us born and bred in New Jersey and New York suburbs, maintain our right to go "home."

It seems obvious that the fear of BDS is really about right of return; i.e., it's not about rights, it's about demographics, which is kinda racist. (When who knows how many Palestinians would choose to return to their homes, or how they might choose to negotiate that basic human right-- which American presidents from Truman to Nixon affirmed.)

As for the freak-out argument, young Maya Wind dispatches that by saying, Obama freaks them out as much as BDS. And as for his argument that only with love will Israelis make concessions, she says it's the opposite of what we've seen. No pressure/discomfort =settlement expansion, more slow ethnic cleansing. You might say that BDS is the grassroots "make me" that Obama called for when he said he knew the right thing to do but he needed the people to "make him" do the right thing. Obama couldn't make a move without a global outcry. As J Street wouldn't exist were it not for the vast and historically deep Jewish and non Jewish grassroots activism that helped create political space for them, and Obama. J Street needs the left, in order to position itself as moderate. 

On the third point, it may be that the left does generally paint this struggle as more one-sided than it is. Yes Palestinians have been agents in what has happened in I/P. But in the end, this really is about Israel having power over Palestinians. Demands for full moral equivalence between partners are absurd, and win no converts.

Finally, note that Rebecca Vilkomerson (in #4 below) challenges Ben-Ami for signing a letter along with the ADL and the David Project that condemned University of California/Berkeley's divestment bill-- a student bill that explicitly focused on companies and not the state of Israel. And Ben-Ami says it won't happen again.


1. Ben-Ami's argument that anyone who supports BDS must first acknowledge Israel's right to exist as a Jewish homeland:


[T]he question is, is the BDS critique being framed in a way that allows some to conclude that there is no need for an Israel or that there wouldn't be any great loss if there were just to be one state? That is where our red line is...

The Palestinian people will have to give up the notion that they can return to the homes that they had to flee in 1948 and that their grandparents and parents fled. Israelis are going to have to pull back their cousins and country-mates from settlements on the West Bank; they're going to have to share Jerusalem.

... I hope we all accept Israel's right to exist, I hope we accept its right to self-defense,

I still didn't hear from any of the other three folks an affirmation of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish home, with equal rights for all its citizens and a state of Palestine side by side. I'd like to hear that that is a fundamental tenet of the BDS movement and of those who use the tactics, that Israel has a right to exist, and I haven't heard that.


Vilkomerson: I certainly have no problem affirming the right of Israel to exist. I don't think during the anti-apartheid struggle anyone was saying that because we were against apartheid we were against the right of South Africa to exist. States exist.

Lynn actually did say that there is suffering on both sides, and that is absolutely true. And I—as someone who has an Israeli husband and children, who lived in Israel for three years—I don't think anyone can accuse me personally or anyone from JVP of not having the interests of the people of Israel at heart. And I think Maya is a fantastic example of someone from within Israel who is saying the same thing, that we're all fighting together for a better future for all of the people, both in Israel and in Palestine.

But I think one thing that is very problematic about the accusation that it has something to do with the legitimacy of the state is that it sort of turns the argument on its head.  People have been condemning Palestinian violent resistance against civilians, rightfully, for years. Yet here's this nonviolent tactic that's a way for Israelis and Palestinians and people of good faith around the world to make an impact on what these policies are doing to people every day in real time, and yet it's those tactics that are being attacked as delegitimizing the state just as vociferously as, if not more than, the violent tactics were. So then what tactic is left to use? I think it's extremely important as citizens of the world, as Jews, and as Americans—as Jews we're implicated in the Israeli state; as Americans we're implicated because of our tax dollars—that we have a way to express, and express in the political full-citizenship sense, our displeasure with Israel's actions.

Additionally, I don't think it's fair to talk about this as a "conflict." Israel is the occupying power. Israel is the one that is illegally, by international standards, occupying Palestinian land, and Israel is the one that is violating human rights, unfortunately, every single day. So I don't think it's quite fair to say that it always needs to be about two sides, because sometimes one side does need to be called out more than the other. I think Israel, especially because it is considered to be a democracy, it is held to that standard. There are certainly worse human rights abusers in the world. However, Israel as a democratic state, as a Western state, as it declares itself, should be held accountable to international standards. I personally—with my personal attachments to Israel—I hold Israel to that standard, just as I hold the United States to that standard.

Argument 2, BDS freaks people out

JBA: I don't think that attacking Israel by boycotting, divesting, engaging in protests, preventing its ambassador from speaking, preventing academics from going places, and not buying products from Israel is going to encourage Israelis to think that there's an atmosphere in which they can make peace.

I think these behaviors on the part of people opposed to the Occupation only feed into a mentality and an atmosphere in which people circle the wagons and become more defensive. And in fact they argue: "The entire world is against us. How can we make concessions for peace when everybody's against us?"

The types of tactics that are being used only feed into that mentality and make it more plausible to argue that in fact the world is ganging up on Israel. I know that it is counterintuitive, because the tactics are being used because of the very behaviors that Israel's engaging in. But it's all a vicious cycle, and I'm afraid that this set of tactics feeds rather than helps to halt that vicious cycle....

MAYA WIND: As an Israeli activist, I can attest to the fact that Israelis freak out when people talk about BDS, and certainly they do tend to get very defensive. And it kind of plays to the whole narrative that anyway is so strong here, about how "the whole world is against us; we're in an existential threat forever."

I would argue, however, that the alternative that you pose of having Obama or the U.S. administration push Israel along in changing its policies does a similar thing. I mean, if you go around the West Bank, there's countless signs of Obama with a kaffiyeh, "Hussein Obama," "Danger to the Jews," and even just today on the radio, I heard Ehud Barak say very clearly, "Jerusalem, both east and west, is the capital of the Jewish people. We will do with it as we please. The U.S. and Obama can say what they want via recommendations, and we will listen, but it's our country and it's our right." And I think there's a lot of discourse in Israel right now about our autonomy, which of course is a joke, because we get so much in subsidies from the U.S. But still, a lot of Israelis are talking about how it's important to stand strong and be independent and not let the U.S. decide for us, because we're not their fifty-second state or whatever. So I would argue that it also contributes a very negative and defensive response from Israelis, probably no less than BDS.



I believe BDS is a sign of hope. It is not taken up out of despair or the feeling that nothing is working. It is one element of ten thousand flowers—let them all bloom—which include pressuring the United States, working in the international community, etc. I believe that BDS is a form of pressure which has a historical track record, which the Jewish community themselves have used on many occasions, including the outbreak of World War II—l'havdil [to separate] of course, not to equate the two—but the Jewish community has used BDS itself. So I would not characterize it as a lack of hope. I would say it is simply the next phase in this struggle. As Jeremy himself said, if we truly are at the end of a process that in two or three years will take us to a very different dimension if it hasn't already, then BDS should be looked at as a positive influence to apply pressure where none has worked up till now..

I also want to talk about the ethical dimension of BDS. I would not describe BDS as making us feel better per se, because we are in a struggle for lives and for the future andthere is an ethical dimension of noncooperation which is part of the refusal movement, in which even from a kosher point of view one is not allowed to profit or benefit from any products that are either created by exploited labor or through the use of violence. So, from an ethical Jewish point of view, I believe we have an obligation to look at noncooperation, the courage to refuse to cooperate with the products and outcomes of occupation. That is a religious obligation for me, which I take very seriously.

No one who engages in nonviolent struggle knows the outcome of the struggle. There is a level at which one does things because we are ethically called to do them.

Argument 3, Argument that all parties are equal:

JBA: And my concern continues to be that the tone of BDS and the tone of some of the remarks even in this conversation do tend to point the finger at only one side, and tend to lay blame exclusively in one place, and are not helpful to creating that atmosphere. And that in fact they do the reverse—they make people dig in and they make it less likely that there is any hope of a nonviolent end to this conflict.

... I hope we understand that the history of this conflict is very complex and it's not just one side doing bad things and one innocent victim. In this conflict everybody is a victim and everybody has done bad things, and we can only focus on going forward and how we are going to be effective.

4, Exchange re the letter at UC Berkeley:


I want to ask Jeremy Ben-Ami about the recent Berkeley divestment resolution because you talked, Jeremy, about your fears that boycott was being used to attack Israel and to say it didn't have a right to exist. The Berkeley divestment resolution was a very carefully crafted resolution that simply asked the university to divest from two American military companies that are supporting the continuing Occupation, which is a recognized illegal occupation. I know that J Street is against the Occupation and is against the expansion of settlements, and yet J Street took a position against that divestment resolution at Berkeley along with a long list of other organizations, including the David Project and the Anti-Defamation League and Stand With Us, which have been quite extreme in their tactics and rhetoric. What was your reasoning to oppose a resolution like that, that is so targeted and in no way challenges the right of Israel to exist but simply challenges the Occupation?

JBA: Well I think it was a sin of omission rather than commission. I would agree that the bill was drafted in a way to limit it to the two companies. But I wonder whether it wouldn't have been possible to reaffirm somewhere in the "whereas" clauses that Israel has a right to exist, that there is a historic right to a Jewish home. In these kinds of resolutions there should be affirmation of the right of Israel to exist and of a state of Palestine and a Palestinian home, to live side by side in peace and security. That kind of an introductory paragraph would, to my mind, be a very important step in the right direction. I think that it would be helpful for there to be indications that while the Occupation and the treatment of Gazans and settlement expansion are all bad things, a resolution like that should also indicate that the use of terror and the use of rockets and all of the violence that has been used in the past against Israel are bad things too. A resolution like this would have to have more balance and it would have to indicate that there's not just one side to the story. For the record, J Street will not be signing on to letters with organizations like that in group settings again. I won't comment on going backward, but I will just say going forward you won't find us signing on to letters like that.

Ten years after Camp David, Palestinian capital in Jerusalem is 'a fantasy'

Posted: 27 Jul 2010 12:00 PM PDT

Ten years after negotiations fell apart between Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat at Camp David, Ben White surveys the status of Jerusalem in the Christian Science Monitor:

After Camp David, Jerusalem was highlighted as one of the thorniest so-called final status issues blocking an Israeli-Palestinian deal. Now, as the peace process stalls and stutters, "facts on the ground" in illegally-annexed East Jerusalem mean that talk of a Palestinian capital in the eastern part of the city is fantasy.

In the more than 40 years that Israel has militarily occupied the West Bank, the Green Line – Israel's pre-1967 borders – has been erased by the likes of illegal settlements, and road networks. Nowhere is this absorption of the Occupied Territories more apparent than in East Jerusalem, where close to 200,000 Israelis live in illegal settlements built in municipal boundaries that were expanded by Israel to include West Bank land.

Reality in East Jerusalem in 2010 means municipal policies – supported by the Israeli state – that fly in the face of international law: Palestinian homes are demolished, the illegal separation wall carves up Palestinian neighborhoods, and residency rights are revoked.

The gaping disparity between Israeli officials' rhetoric in the West and their practice on the ground is no starker than in East Jerusalem. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat assure journalists and diplomats that the city is "open" and "free" for all its inhabitants, the facts tell a different story – one of exclusion and discriminatory municipal policies.

White concludes, "Ten years after Camp David, a just peace for Israelis and Palestinians is still possible, but only if Western leaders finally act to end Israel's long-standing policies of separation and inequality."

Busloads of civilians cheer as Israelis uproot Bedouin village of 200

Posted: 27 Jul 2010 07:31 AM PDT

News reports confirm the report we ran last night of Israel's bulldozing of a Bedouin village in the Negev, uprooting 40 families, 200 people, to make way for what--a forest created with the auspices of the Jewish National Fund? Here's the shocking report from CNN--shades of the cheering for the war on Gaza:

Witnesses told CNN that the Israeli forces arrived at the village accompanied by busloads of civilians who cheered as the dwellings were demolished. They said armed police deployed with tear gas, water cannon, two helicopters and bulldozers.

Below is a press release from several groups speaking on behalf of the village, which it says was 300 people, and passing along a horrific quote from Netanyahu-- that in Sunday's Cabinet meeting, he sounded a warning about "a situation in which a demand for national rights will be made from some quarters inside Israel, for example in the Negev, should the area be left without a Jewish majority. Such things happened in the Balkans, and it is a real threat." I can't find that quote online. I do see that Netanyahu described non-Jewish immigration as a "concrete threat."

Al Arakib Popular Committee - Negev Coexistence Forum for Civil Equality – Recognition Forum – Tarabut - Gush Shalom Press Release

July 27, 2010

Early this morning police raided the unrecognized Bedouin village of al-Arakib in the Negev, destroyed all 40 of its houses, and evicted more than 300 residents. The residents, mostly children, were left homeless.

The unprecedented raid began at about 4:30 in the morning, residents were surprised to wake up surrounded by a huge force of 1,500 police with guns, stun grenades, helmets and shields, including hundreds of Special Riot Police (Yasam) as well as mounted police, helicopters and bulldozers.

At the residents' call, dozens of left-wing activists and volunteers arrived from all over the country, helping them to offer non-violent resistance. Several residents were bruised and beaten by police, though not needing medical attention. One woman demonstrator was detained by the police.

The police removed the residents' property into prepared containers, and bulldozers demolished the residential buildings and sheepfolds and destroyed the residents' fruit orchards and olive tree groves. The villagers, mostly children and old people, were left stunned near the destroyed village, shelterless and waterless under the blazing sun.

The destruction of the village was carried out despite dispute over ownership of the land still pending in the courts. Residents of al-Arakib are neither squatters nor invaders: their village has existed many years before the creation of Israel in 1948. Residents had been evicted by the state in 1951, but returned to the land on which they live and which they cultivate. Ownership of the land is now the subject of proceedings in the Be'er Sheva District Court, where academic researchers have already testified in confirmation of the residents' ownership right in the land. 

The destruction's declared aim is to facilitate plans by the Jewish National Fund to plant a wood on the site. We regard this demolition as a criminal act. Bedouin citizens of Israel are not enemies, and forestation of the Negev is not a reasonable pretext for destroying a community which is more than 60 years old, dispossessing its residents, and violating the basic rights of hundreds of Israeli civilians, men, women and children. This act by the state authorities is no "law enforcement" - it is a act of war, such as is undertaken against an enemy.

This act cannot be dissociated from yesterday's statement by Prime Minister Netanyahu, who at the cabinet meeting sounded a warning about "a situation in which a demand for national rights will be made from some quarters inside Israel, for example in the Negev, should the area be left without a Jewish majority. Such things happened in the Balkans, and it is a real threat."

Presenting the Bedouin citizens of Israel as "a real threat" gives legitimacy to the expulsion of Israel's Bedouin citizens from the Negev in order to "Judaize" it. We call on all who care for democracy to give their support to this threatened community.

Hoo-ha: Conservative British P.M. calls Gaza a 'prison camp'

Posted: 27 Jul 2010 07:07 AM PDT

The left is driving the discourse, and the mainstream is being forced to contend with our ideas about the conflict. The circle of official agreement on conventional wisdom grows narrower and narrower. Howard Kohr of AIPAC explained this process a year back at AIPAC in his amazing "Predicate for Abandonment" speech, when he said that the campuses were lost, Europe and the blogosphere were hopeless, and so the faithful must work to hold Congress and Washington. That island is getting smaller by the minute.

Roger Cohen has buckled; and invokes Peter Beinart's defection from the Israel lobby. Now Conservative British P.M. David Cameron goes to Turkey and calls Gaza "a prison camp." How long before an American congressmen break? Cameron:

Speaking in Ankara, the Prime Minister denounced the attack on the flotilla as ''completely unacceptable''...

"Gaza cannot and must not be allowed to remain a prison camp.''

Dangerous argument

Posted: 27 Jul 2010 06:10 AM PDT

Mort Klein of the Zionist Organization of America talks about foreign aid during tough economic times:

Why should the PA even consider ending incitement against Israel and making concessions for peace when it receives massive, unmerited rewards like this diplomatic upgrade, as well as the huge reward under President Obama of an increase in aid for the Palestinians to $1.3 billion – double the already large sums given to the P.A. under George W. Bush. The P.A. now receives more funding per capita than any other nation or entity on earth. This is even more remarkable and indefensible in a time of huge deficits and strains on the U.S. economy. Abbas and the P.A. are receiving the message loud and clear that extremism pays, involves no penalty or risks and is in fact rewarded.

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