Monday, March 12, 2012

332 Israel is right "to strangle them economically" - New York Jewish Senator Chuck Schumer

Israel is right "to strangle them economically" - New York Jewish Senator Chuck Schumer

(1) USS Liberty sites set off Google's "this site may harm your computer" warning
(2) Flotilla attack mirrors USS Liberty attack - Joe Meadors, who survived both
(3) Israel is right "to strangle them economically" - New York Senator Chuck Schumer
(4) Kibbutz: concentration camps run by an oligarchy; kept kids from families - Roy Tov
(5) Tens of thousands of Ashkenazi Orthodox rally for classes segregated from Sephardi Jews

(1) USS Liberty sites set off Google's "this site may harm your computer" warning
From: Palestine Remembered <> Date: 17.06.2010 09:15 PM
Subject: Bad warning about Google

Pages dedicated to the USS Liberty must have been developed by well-organized terrorists, because 15 of the top 20 sites that mention "May 30, 2010 USS Liberty Memorial" set off Google's red flag. If you click, a warning page screams "continue at your own risk." If you go ahead, another deep, bright-red warning tries to scare the pants off the curious. "Your computer can be infected just by browsing to a site with malware, without any further action on your part." Three times is a charm, so if you ignore warnings number one and two, a third pops up asking, "Are you sure you wish to go to this site?" If you are feeling like a daredevil, positive that you want to know the USS Liberty crew list provided by, you will be redirected to CNN's web site.

I'm not seeing anything like that!

"May 30, 2010 USS Liberty Memorial" finds no string anywhere on the web.

"May 30" "2010 USS Liberty Memorial" is nowhere on the web.

A search on "May 30" 2010 "USS Liberty Memorial" brings up 1,300 links.

Keep up the good work.

(2) Flotilla attack mirrors USS Liberty attack - Joe Meadors, who survived both

From: Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics Earth Sciences) <> Date: 18.06.2010 04:01 PM

Flotilla attack mirrors USS Liberty

By Harmony Grant Daws

June 17th, 2010

Thanks to the internet, Israel’s terrorist attack on the Free Gaza ship, Mavi Marmara, could hardly be less publicized. Yet on June 8, 1967—43 years ago—Israeli air and sea forces attacked another ship in international waters. It was the USS Liberty, conspicuously flying its American flag in clear weather; Israel used bombs, napalm and torpedoes against it. The attack on the Liberty remains the only maritime incident involving fatalities in US history which was never investigated by Congress. The attack occurred in international waters, and reports by eyewitnesses flatly contradict the Israel-excusing narrative to which the US agreed.

This article examines stunning parallels between the Liberty attack and the recent brutal takeover of the Gaza-bound flotilla. Both attacks occurred in international waters. In both, Israel heavy-handedly silenced eyewitnesses, discredited survivors, controlled a biased investigation—after having ordered the attacks to protect an even greater crime.

Joe Meadors survived both attacks. He was aboard the Liberty in 1967 and also an activist passenger on the flotilla this June. Meadors says international waters were violated both times. The Israelis, he says, “ think they can do no wrong. Every time they speak they say they don’t break any laws, they always abide by international laws. But, they break them with impunity and the US Government is not going to hold them accountable, nobody is.”

Is such pessimism warranted? It certainly is.

Forty-three years have passed since 34 servicemen were killed by Israel in international waters. The truth seems just as sinkable today.

Silencing Witnesses, Jamming Communication Devices

During the flotilla attack, one journalist was able to broadcast 90 seconds of live coverage to Al Jazeera, and then communication was cut off, as the Israelis jammed the activists’ communication devices. This is exactly what happened on board the Liberty. Communication devices were jammed with what survivors described as a “buzzsaw sound.”

The brief video dispatched to Al Jazeera reports civilian activists attacked with live fire by the IDF even while waving the white flag of surrender—dozens injured and several killed in international waters, while bearing aid to try to break the Gaza blockade. A Brazilian filmmaker was also able to smuggle out 60 minutes of tape in her underwear. The rest of the physical evidence—cameras and film—were seized by Israel and have still not been returned.

As the news about the flotilla attack was first surfacing, Israel dominated the information flow; the eyewitness survivors were being “quietly herded to Ashdod without means of communication to the outside world.”

Similarly, when the wounded were finally being evacuated from the Liberty, they were commanded not to speak to the press about what had happened. Thirty-four US soldiers were dead and 174 were wounded—yet eyewitnesses were not able to tell what they had seen and heard.

Discrediting and Silencing Survivors

After the flotilla event and continuing today, ADL/Israel has focused on discrediting the flotilla passengers by linking them to international terrorist groups. New York officials are asking the State Department to look into the visa applications of flotilla survivors who want to share their testimony in Brooklyn. Jewish Senator Chuck Schumer—who recently said Gaza should be economically strangled until it admits Israel’s right to exist—is forcefully insinuating that the flotilla activists are linked to Al Qaeda. Thus, flotilla survivors who raise their heads are threatened with personal investigations and public slander, pressuring them to keep their mouths shut.

Survivors of the Liberty who knew Israel had purposefully attacked their vessel were also silenced. Richard Larry Weaver, a seaman aboard the Liberty, says he was visited in the hospital by a three-star admiral. The admiral asked what had happened on the Liberty; and when Weaver stated his testimony, the admiral said, “ “If you tell anyone what happened you will be put in prison and we’ll lose the key.”

Israeli troops hovered in helicopters over the USS Liberty while preparing to rappel to the deck and, he surmises, kill the survivors and sink the ship. Just then the captain aboard a nearby U.S. carrier scrambled jets to assist a vessel under attack by an "ally." When Israeli intelligence intercepted the transmission, the helicopters fled only to have President Lyndon Johnson and Defense Secretary Robert McNamara recall our fighters. Soon thereafter, Israeli torpedo boats pulled alongside the USS Liberty to inquire if those aboard needed assistance. Those same boats had just blown a hole in the hull, killing 25 Americans. Israeli machine-gunners had then strafed stretcher-bearers, firemen, life rafts and even the firehoses—all clear war crimes. Only then did this ally display the chutzpah to ask if our servicemen required assistance.

The investigation of the U.S.S. Liberty was conducted by the US Navy, which forbade eyewitnesses from reporting their testimony. “Within three weeks, the Navy put out a 700-page report, exonerating the Israelis, claiming the attack had been accidental and that the Israelis had pulled back as soon as they realized their mistake. Defense Secretary Robert McNamara suggested the whole affair should be forgotten. ‘These errors do occur,’ McNamara concluded.”

The attack on the Liberty remains the only maritime incident in US history, involving fatalities, which was never investigated by Congress. The Liberty Veterans Association, composed of survivors, says the inquiry didn’t even examine Israeli culpability but only focused on American miscommunications. No Israelis were questioned. All known survivors agree the attack was deliberate. But then, as today, the USA colluded with Israel to cover up the attacks and slaying of American citizens.

A Turkish-American was killed during the raid of the flotilla yet is receiving no justice from his country -- just the opposite: A senator has called for the arrest and prosecution of any Americans on board the vessels! The “inquiry” into the flotilla attack will be as much a sham as the Navy’s 700-page report on the U.S.S. Liberty. The US has agreed that an independent Israeli committee should look into the attack! The Jewish Forward admits there will be no real investigation of the Israeli military’s attack on the flotilla; only policy decisions will be examined. There will be a virtual “firewall” between the inquiry and the military.

“The panel will not be able to investigate firsthand the events on the ship and will not be able to judge between the two contradicting narratives — the Israeli storyline that depicts an encounter between lightly armed commandos and bloodthirsty terrorists, and the Turkish one that talks of peace activists on their way to a humanitarian relief mission brutally attacked by the Israeli navy. Furthermore, preferring an Israeli committee to an international panel means that investigators would likely have little to no access to the activists who were on board the ships.”

It is certain that Israel attacked the Liberty to cover up even more sinister crimes. In 1995, two shallow mass graves of Egyptian soldiers were discovered outside the Sinai city of El Arish; they were prisoners of war slaughtered by the Israeli army. James Bamford, in his 2001 Body of Secrets, suggests the Liberty, an intelligence ship, may have been attacked to prevent its discovery of these slaughters, to which Israeli veterans have admitted. A retired Israeli general personally admitted to murdering 49 surrendered and unarmed Egyptian POWs with submachine gunfire during the 1967 war.

George Ball, Undersecretary of State under Johnson and Kennedy, authored a 1992 book, The Passionate Attachment: America’s Involvement with Israel, 1947 to the Present. Ball’s book presents his conviction that the Liberty was attacked to prevent it from interfering with Israel’s plan to violate any ceasefire until it had completely seized the Golan Heights. Ball reports, “Yet the ultimate lesson of the Liberty attack had far more effect on policy in Israel than in America. Israel’s leaders concluded that nothing they might do would offend the Americans to the point of reprisal. If America’s leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of American citizens, it seemed clear that their American friends would let them get away with almost anything.”

This has certainly been proven true in 2010. While the world gasps in horror, the United States stands with Israel’s “right to self-defense,” regardless of the cost in innocent life and the violation of international law.

Just as the Liberty was attacked to protect even greater crimes, so the Gaza-bound flotillas were attacked to prevent their interference with the continued blockade of Gaza—an atrocity that keeps 1.5 million people crowded into an open air prison. An Israeli Arab MK has told the European Parliament that Israeli leaders should be tried at The Hague for their crimes; in preventing medical supplies and medicine into Gaza, Israel has caused at least 700 Palestinian deaths at its border crossings, he said.

Incredibly, pro-Israel America will not face the truth about these even darker realities.

(3) Israel is right "to strangle them economically" - New York Senator Chuck Schumer

The meaning of strangulation

By Mark LeVine


{caption} Israel has been strangling the Palestinian economy since the occupation began [GALLO/GETTY] {end}

The remarks were not made in anger or haste, as were the now infamous, flippant and ill-conceived comments that cost White House reporter Helen Thomas her job, if not her legacy. Instead, they were made quite deliberately, with an air of thoughtfulness, while leaning over a lectern, as if lecturing to a class.

Thomas was forced into retirement for declaring that Jews "should get the hell out of Palestine," but New York Senator Chuck Schumer, one of the most powerful politicians in the US, has avoided any criticism or even major press coverage for remarks he made only days later that supported the continued "economic strangulation" of Gaza; in part, because, he essentially argues, the inhabitants of the benighted Strip are not Jewish.

Schumer made his remarks during a brief talk to the Orthodox Union, a well-known politically conservative Jewish educational, outreach and social service organization.

The talk covered several foreign policy issues, including Iran and Israel/Palestine. When the topic turned to the Israeli attack on the Gaza aid flotilla Schumer began by explaining that the "Palestinian people still don't believe in the Jewish state, in a two-state solution". But that is not all, he continued: "They don't believe in the Torah, in David."

Because of this, and because they chose to elect Hamas, Schumer went on to argue, Israel is right - and the US should support its desire - "to strangle them economically until they see that's not the way to go".

Indeed, whether deliberately or because he does not understand the nature of Israeli policies vis-a-vis Gaza, Schumer did not actually use the word "blockade;" instead describing Israeli actions as a "boycott".

Only when Palestinians see the light, "when there's some moderation and cooperation, can [they] have an economic advancement".

Opinions that matter

With all due respect to Helen Thomas and her illustrious career, she was merely a columnist, with no political power and a relatively small readership. When she adopted opinions or arguments that contradicted the facts or were morally problematic, they were easily rebutted in the public sphere.

Charles Schumer, however, is an extremely powerful senator who serves on some of that body's most powerful committees, such as banking and judiciary.

Moreover, through his representation of New York, the state with the largest Jewish population in the US, he is a leading pro-Israel voice in congress who has the ability directly to impact the nature of US policy towards Israel and the Middle East more broadly.

In other words, what Senator Schumer says actually can cost people - Palestinians, Israelis, Americans - their livelihoods and even their lives, not to mention help prolong or alleviate one of the world's most intractable conflicts. And yet no one in official Washington even blinked.

To consider the implications of these comments, it is worth considering what would happen if any Arab or Muslim, never mind a US senator, explained that because Israelis do not support a two-state solution, and do not believe in the Quran - that is, have not converted to Islam - and have voted in one of the most right-wing governments in their country's history, the US, or the world more broadly, is justified in trying to "strangle Israel economically" until it moderates its policies.

Imagine the uproar. Consider what would happen to the person - a columnist or congressman - who made such a comment. Yet hardly anyone has even noticed, never mind considered the implications of Schumer's remarks, which on YouTube have garnered about 1,500 views. Not a single major US newspaper has even written, let alone editorialized, about them, in contrast to the plethora of editorials and op-eds in response to Thomas' remarks, one clip of which has been viewed well over 1.6 million times.

It is hard to know what to call Schumer's argument that, because Palestinians "don't believe in the Torah, in David," they can be strangled.

He specifically says "there should be humanitarian aid and people not starving to death," but he does not quite explain how "strangling" an economy that has already been nearly destroyed during 40 years of occupation can do anything but cause immense suffering to the people living in it, as numerous reports by the UN, Israeli, Palestinian and international aid organizations have documented in great detail.

Indeed, to "strangle" an entire people economically can only mean to try to destroy their ability to survive as a national group, which is a crime against humanity.

Official bigotry unchallenged

These are among the most ethnically and religiously bigoted and even inciteful public remarks by a senior American politician I have heard in a long time.

And the fact Schumer could make them without a hint of anger, as if he was merely stating the obvious, and feel no need to recant them after video of the talk was circulated on the internet (several calls to Schumer's press secretary asking for clarification were not answered), is as telling as it is worrisome.

It is also worth noting that besides the moral problems associated with his positions, almost every one of his arguments are factually inaccurate. The strong majority of Palestinians continue to support a two-state solution (74 per cent in an April 2009 poll), even thought the process meant to achieve it has delivered little but misery for them for almost two decades. They moderated their ideology and behavior as part of Oslo and were met with an ever more intensive occupation in response.

Israel has, in fact, been strangling the Palestinian economy since the inception of the occupation, "de-developing" not just Gaza but the West Bank until Oslo, and then closing off the Territories physically while ensuring that they could not develop an autonomous economy as the central component of Oslo's economic protocols.

Indeed, it is precisely the intensification of the occupation that led to the breakdown of negotiations, the outbreak of the al-Aqsa intifada, the massive violence of Israel's response, and the election of Hamas in response to these dynamics. Even senior Israeli generals have admitted that their harsh actions have only strengthened Hamas.

Collective punishment

Schumer also fails to realize that by advocating the "economic strangulation" of Gaza he is calling for collective punishment of a civilian population in order to change its political beliefs or views.

As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he should know that this is essentially the definition of terrorism used by the US government, which in several federal statutes, including the Patriot Act, define terrorism as involving acts that "appear to be intended ... to intimidate or coerce a civilian population ... to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion [or] affect the conduct of a government by mass destruction, assassination, or kidnapping ..." (USA Patriot Act, Title VIII, Sec. 802).

Israel's policies of economic strangulation have clearly - and admittedly - been intended to force a change in behavior, and are inseparable from its policies of assassination and kidnappings which have also been practiced by the US under the guise of drone strikes and renditions (it is also likely not coincidental that Senator Schumer also supported the use of torture by the Bush administration in 2004).

How does Senator Schumer think advocating economic strangulation will actually improve Israel's security, help moderate Palestinians, or, as should be a major concern for a US senator, improve the US' position in the eyes of the Muslims world as his party's president, Barack Obama, has been trying to do since taking office?

Moreover, his comments suggest that if Israel manages to choke Palestinians into compliance, the most he is willing to support is the sort of "economic peace" or development promised by Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, as an alternative to actual sovereignty and independence. If so, that would put him in direct confrontation with Obama's strongly-stated support for Palestinian statehood.

Finally, it might serve Senator Schumer to know that within Islam there is in fact an acceptance of the Torah and David, as the Torah (tawrat in Arabic) is considered one of the Holy Books of God, whose corruption by humans led to subsequent revelations until the final, according to Islamic theology, uncorrupted revelation, that comprised the Quran. Moreover, David is considered a prophet and another set of books, the Zabur, or songs/psalms, is attributed to him.

Perhaps if Schumer understood this basic theological relationship between Judaism and Islam, he might be less predisposed to imagining that Israelis and Palestinians are inevitably at odds, and that the latter will act irrationally and with malice against Israel no matter what Israel does and therefore the safest policy from Israel's perspective is, if not actual strangulation, at least continuous repression.

Obama's challenge

If Schumer thinks this way, many if not most of his colleagues, and the majority of the American media and political spheres, do as well.

If this is what he is up against, no wonder Obama is finding it so hard to change US policy towards the conflict.

It would be one thing if Schumer's views impacted only the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But his remarks to the Orthodox Union also touched upon Iran, and did so in a way that provide some alarming insight into what is likely the consensus of the senate about the goal of US policies towards the Islamic Republic.

Specifically, Schumer described a bill presently in reconciliation between the house and senate that would prevent any company that sold gasoline directly or indirectly to Iran from selling oil products in the US. If passed, such a bill would significantly impact Iran because while it is a major petroleum exporter, Iran in fact imports a larger share of the gasoline it uses for domestic consumption.

After describing the bill and its potential impact, Schumer added off-handedly, as if it was too obvious really to need mentioning, that "the whole idea is to bring the Iranian regime down".

He added: "There is a lot of discontent ... the people of Iran want economic advancement above all ... If we can stop that economic advancement we can hurt the country economically. That might be the spark that brings the people ... that brings the regime, which is fundamentally not popular and works by fear, down."

It seems that to Schumer what is good for Israel in Gaza is good for the US in Iran; engage in blatant attempts at regime change, even if doing so is a violation of international law; hurt or strangle a country economically in order to cause the people to suffer enough that they rise up against the government to whose existence you are opposed; and if none of that works, keep applying more pressure, until, presumably, there is no choice but to take military action.

Senator Schumer's words seem to represent the mainstream of opinion inside the Washington political establishment. They would seem, thus far, not to be the official policies of the Obama administration, but if the president does not articulate a clear agenda that includes bold action to break the logjams in negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians, and between Iran and the Western powers, Schumer's views will likely become the de facto fall-back strategy of whatever administration is in power in two years' time.

And this will most likely mean a lot more suffering for Palestinians and Iranians, and ultimately, for Israelis and Americans as well.

Mark LeVine is a professor of history at UC Irvine and senior visiting researcher at the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Lund University in Sweden. His most recent books are Heavy Metal Islam (Random House) and Impossible Peace: Israel/Palestine Since 1989 (Zed Books).

(4) Kibbutz: concentration camps run by an oligarchy; kept kids from families - Roy Tov

From: Roy Tov <> Date: 18.06.2010 09:49 PM

Kibbutz: Final Breaths?

One of the most peculiar and atrocious inventions of the Zionists was the kibbutz. I did grow up in one of them in the Jordan Valley and could study the aberration in detail; important parts of The Cross of Bethlehem take part in a kibbutz. Humanity was denied there; people were reduced to working slaves for the cooperative which was run by an exclusive oligarchy. Children were kept away from their family, so that their young minds won’t be polluted by reactionary ideas. Money wasn’t introduced there until well into the 1980s. No God, no traditions. The only right of the members was to work until death. That led me to Christianity.

At first, these thinly disguised concentration camps played an important role in the occupation of land. The agriculture was not important. A good testimony of that was the ongoing attempt to grow up cotton – a water thirsty plant – in deserted areas were water is at a premium. Early governments wanted someone to fill up the lands confiscated - or bought under threats – from Palestinians. Later, their importance decreased and their lost the government support. Eventually they collapsed financially in the 1990s and were forced to recognize the right to property, the use of money and human rights in general. Many members left them. Yet they are still out there, though their survival is not assured. In the last days a new disaster hit them; this time it may be the fatal blow.

Technically, the kibbutzim do not own their land; they rent it from the state. One of the ways the kibbutzim attempted to cope with the diminishing membership and workforce was by renting rooms to people living in nearby towns. That could work for many kibbutzim occupying premium spots near Tel Aviv and other large cities. However, regular buildings in kibbutzim are not suited for humans living in normal societies. They lack a proper kitchen – since members ate at a communal dining room – and lack rooms for children; the last grew up in communal dormitories. The solution was to build new buildings designed for the few freaks out there living in highly reactionary family units.

The Land Authority of Israel – the Israeli Administration organization responsible of the state lands – had forbidden the construction of such new buildings, since the kibbutzim are rural in nature. As of June 2010, it is leading 150 legal processes against the 273 kibbutzim still existing.

Empty rooms, ever decreasing membership and now a legal battle against the state for their only chance to survive economically; are these the kibbutzim last breaths? Let’s pray for that.

(5) Tens of thousands of Ashkenazi Orthodox rally for classes segregated from Sephardi Jews

James Hider    The Times    June 18, 2010  12:18PM

{caption} Thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews protest in Jerusalem over the jailing of parents who refused to send their children to a school with Jewish girls of other origins. Source: AFP {end}

PARTS of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv disappeared under a sea of black hats as tens of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews massed in protest against a High Court ruling ordering children from different groups to study at the same school.

Dozens of parents have been sentenced to two weeks in jail for refusing to obey a court ruling that their children should go to the same school in the West Bank settlement of Immanuel.

The ultra-Orthodox community said that they had tried to separate Ashkenazi children, of Eastern European descent, from Sephardi children, of Spanish, Portuguese and Middle Eastern descent, not because of racial origin, but because the Ashkenazis have stricter religious beliefs and did not want their children associating with Sephardis.

"This is religious coercion. The court wishes to impose its secular views on religious Jews," said one protester, Moshe. "They are jealous of the religious community. They have two children and a dog and we have ten children. Their divorce rate is much higher than ours, too."

Another said: "The High Court was established with the founding of the State 62 years ago; our religion is 3,000 years old."

To cheers and singing, several of the sentenced fathers, wearing their best Sabbath clothes, were carried through the throng in an ultra-Orthodox area of Jerusalem before turning themselves in at the city prison.

The court decision underscored the deep division between Israel's religious and secular Jews, which came to a head last month when Ron Huldai, the secular Mayor of Tel Aviv, openly criticised the Haredi community, whose men generally do not work or serve in the army, preferring instead to study religious texts.

Many secular Israelis resent the fact that their taxes subsidise such insular religious communities, which are growing in size with their high birthrate.

"We have no choice but to speak explicitly about the existence of two sides to Israeli society: those who contribute to its foundation and growth, and those who are funded by them," Mr Huldai said.

Ultra-Orthodox protesters said yesterday that they would not bow to the court's demands. The demonstrations included men and women - protesting separately.

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