Tuesday, July 10, 2012

543 Egypt's Morsi ends Iran's diplomatic isolation. Finkelstein breaks with Chomsky on Lobby

Egypt's Morsi ends Iran's diplomatic isolation. Finkelstein breaks with
Chomsky on Lobby

(1) Egypt's Morsi ends Iran's diplomatic isolation
(2) Israeli soldiers expose plight of Palestinian children
(3) & (4) Israel refuses to let supporters of Palestine enter the
occupied territories
(5) Israeli government willingly lays foundations for Jewish terrorism
(6) Norman Finkelstein breaks with Chomsky on denial of Lobby's power

(1) Egypt's Morsi ends Iran's diplomatic isolation


Aug 28, 2012

North Korea on the Nile

by Spengler {David P Goldman ... a Jewish Zionist}

Reports that Egypt's oil suppliers are cutting shipments to the
nearly-bankrupt nation coincide with a dramatic diplomatic shift towards
Iran by President Mohammed Morsi. Morsi's attendance at the Non-Aligned
Summit in Teheran today denotes the end of Iran's diplomatic isolation
in the Sunni Arab world.

In addition, as my Asia Times Online colleague M K Bhadrakumar noted in
his Indian Punchline blog, Morsi proposed to include Iran in a
four-nation contact group to resolve the Syrian crisis, along with
Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. Morsi's outreach to Iran at the August 15
Organization of Islamic Coordination summit in Mecca was welcomed by
Iran's Foreign Ministry. [1] [2]

At the same time, Egypt has become a prospective threat to Israel for
the first time in more than three decades. The deployment of Egyptian
tanks in the Sinai, supposedly in pursuit of terrorists, violates the
33-year-old peace treaty with Israel, and persuades some Israeli
analysts that Egypt might threaten Israel's southern border in the event
of an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

"If Netanyahu finally decides to strike Iran's nuclear sites, shouldn't
he consider a possible scenario, in which Morsi (soon to visit Tehran
for a conference), orders two army divisions to cross the Suez Canal
into Sinai?," asks Amos Harel, the senior defense analyst at Ha'aretz. [3]

American analysts had assumed that Egypt's massive need for external aid
would keep Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood on Washington's leash. On the
contrary, the Brotherhood indicated its intent to benefit from economic
chaos months ago, as I wrote in this space last April (see Muslim
Brotherhood chooses chaos, Asia Times Online, April 11, 2012). Now the
gravity of the situation is beginning to sink in.

"Just two months after coming to power, Morsi is pursuing a
rapprochement with Tehran and articulating a newfound ambition to
jettison billions in US foreign assistance dollars and financing from
Western financial institutions," wrote David Shenker and Christina Lin
in the April 24 Los Angeles Times. [4]

Economic privation, up to and including starvation, is not necessarily a
hindrance to the exercise of power. As the Bolsheviks demonstrated in
1917, the Somali warlords during the 1990s, and North Korea for the past
two decades, starvation benefits a totalitarian party ruthless enough to
employ it as a weapon of social control. Reports from Egypt indicate
that Morsi has begun rationing of daily essentials, reinforcing the
Muslim Brotherhood's grip on power.

The Egypt Independent reports, "The government decided to lower
subsidies on oil products from LE95.5 billion [US$$15.5 billion] in the
2011-2012 budget to LE25.5 billion in the 2012-2013 budget by applying a
coupon system on butane, gas and diesel in addition to other procedures
for rationalizing energy consumption."

And according to Magda Kankil of the Egyptian Center for Economic
Studies, Egypt will move to a ration card system for bread as well. [5]
If Egyptians want to eat, or cook dinner with propane, they can apply
for a ration card to the local Muslim Brotherhood office.

Egypt spends roughly US$25 billion a year on fuel, and the present
subsidy of 95.5 Egyptian pounds is a life-and-death matter for the
Egyptian poor. According to the Wall Street Journal on March 22,
"Subsidies already absorb at least 28% of Egypt's budget outlay of 476
billion Egyptian pounds ($79 billion). [6] About two-thirds of that goes
toward fuel and energy, with the rest aimed at reducing food prices,
particularly for wheat."

A massive reduction in subsidies combined with rationing will put the
existence of half of Egypt's people under the immediate control of the
state. Morsi's apparent disregard of Egypt's economic crisis conceals a
deeper agenda, namely the entrenchment of the Muslim Brotherhood in the
kind of power arrangement that characterizes modern totalitarian states.
That is the source of his contempt for American diplomacy.

It is hard to recall an American foreign policy failure so catastrophic,
and at the same time so bi-partisan. As M K Bhadrakumar - the only
English-language journalist to predict Egypt's turn - put it in the
August 21 Asia Times, the US offered "an invitation to Obama to Morsi to
visit Washington. And Morsi is instead traveling to China and Iran."
(See Egypt thumbs nose at US, Asia Times Online, August 21, 2012).

The Republicans also reached out to the Muslim Brotherhood. Former
president George W Bush declared on May 15, "America does not get to
choose if a freedom revolution should begin or end in the Middle East or
elsewhere. It only gets to choose what side it is on."

When the Obama administration invited Brotherhood officials to the White
House in April to protests from the Republican right, Weekly Standard
publisher William Kristol and Washington Post columnist Charles
Krauthammer defended the dialogue on Fox News. [7] As late as August 2,
Fox News contributor Fouad Ajami predicted an Egyptian-Saudi alliance
against Iran: "An Egyptian alliance with Saudi Arabia is the beginning
of wisdom - a necessary, though hardly sufficient, condition for Egypt
finding a way out of its crippling past," he wrote in Tablet. [8]

Morsi has undertaken what the two analysts call "a foreign policy shift
rivaling the scope of president Anwar Sadat's expulsion of the Soviets
in 1972 and subsequent reorientation to the West" when his country is
almost out of cash. Liquid foreign exchange reserves at the Bank of
Egypt fell to $5.9 billion in July, enough to cover barely a month of

"Egypt is finding it increasingly difficult to import fuel as foreign
banks and traders pull the plug on credit," Reuters reported August 23.
"In the strongest evidence to date of rising fuel import difficulties,
traders said Egypt had to cancel a tender to buy crude earlier this
month after receiving no bids, and also had to scrap parts of a gasoline
import tender because the prices on offer were too high." [9]

The country's economy faces paralysis due to an endemic shortage of
gasoline and diesel fuel, leading to regular electricity blackouts. Lack
of fuel has forced the shutdown of bakeries, leading to regional
shortages of the subsidized bread that makes up most of the caloric
consumption of half of Egypt's population living on less than $2 a day.

Egypt received a cash deposit of $500 million from Qatar and a pledge of
an additional $1.5 billion after the August 10 visit of Emir Al-Thani to
Cairo. The same day, President Morsi purged Egypt's senior officers and
grabbed key constitutional powers from the military. Qatar's
contribution, though, is a stopgap; the tiny emirate has just $20
billion in total resources, less than Egypt's annual requirement for
external financing.

Morsi's government is negotiating a $4.8 billion loan from the
International Monetary Fund, enough to get through a few months - if and
when the money arrives.

Egypt has suffered from chronic fuel shortages since the overthrow of
Hosni Mubarak early in 2011, including repeated breakdowns in
electricity provision, as The National reported August 19. [11] It seems
likely that the Morsi government will shift food subsidies to a ration
card system as well, according to the Egypt Independent. Bread shortages
appeared at the end of Ramadan in some Egyptian provinces, al-Ahram
reports. The Morsi government blames corruption by bakers. [12]

It has been, or should have been obvious all year that a dual power
situation (as the Bolsheviks described it in 1917) has been gestating.
The remains of the military-led government controlled the official
levers of state, while the Muslim Brotherhood distributed food and fuel
on the street. As I wrote on April 11 on this site:

The Brotherhood believes that widespread hunger will strengthen its
political position, and is probably correct to believe this. As the
central government's corrupt and rickety system of subsidies collapses,
local Islamist organizations will take control of food distribution and
establish a virtual dictatorship on the streets. American analysts
mistook the protestors of Tahrir Square for revolutionaries. The Muslim
Brotherhood now reveals itself to be a revolutionary organization on the
Leninist or Nazi model.

The Brotherhood's revolutionary program has been gestating for some
time. As food and fuel shortages emerged in the first months of after
the downfall of President Hosni Mubarak last year, Islamist
organizations already began to fill the vacuum left by the breakdown of
the old civil regime. The Ministry of Solidarity and Social Justice
began forming "revolutionary committees" to mete out street justice to
bakeries, propane dealers and street vendors who "charge more than the
price prescribed by law", the Federation of Egyptian Radio and
Television reported on May 3, 2011. According to the ministry, "Thugs
are in control of bread and butane prices" and "people's committees" are
required to stop them. (See Muslim Brotherhood chooses chaos, Asia Times
Online, April 11, 2012). It also should have been obvious that dual
power - the standoff between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military -
could continue very much longer. I wrote on July 11 under the title "The
Economics of Confrontation in Egypt,"

At best, international aid will allow the status quo to continue a while
longer. But the status quo involves a barely-adequate supply of bread, a
dreadfully inadequate supply of fuel, and no outlook for the future
except poverty and insecurity. It seems most unlikely that a political
or economic equilibrium can be established on such a wobbly base. The
uneasy modus vivendi between the Muslim Brotherhood and the military
most likely will fail, and probably sooner than later. See The economics
of confrontation in Egypt, Asia Times Online, July 10, 2012. Like the
Shah's generals in 1979 Iran, the Egyptian generals have something to
fall back on - the townhouse in Chelsea or the yacht in Monaco. The
younger officers who replaced them after Morsi's August 10 purge have no
hope of enriching themselves as their commanders once did, because there
is nothing more to steal. In retrospect, the military's failure to fight
back against the Muslim Brotherhood could have been inferred from its
behavior since the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak in January 2011. As
foreign exchange reserves vanished last year, I asked last October:

Egypt's economic route calls to mind the country's military disaster
during the 1967 war, when - according to the Egyptian government's later
evaluation - the military collapsed in part because of "the army's fear
of telling [President Gamal Abdul] Nasser the truth".

It appears at first glance that the army does not want to tell itself
the truth about Egypt's economy. The truth probably is simpler, and more
sinister ... When the civil societies of developing countries
disintegrate, the authorities often appear to be paralyzed. In most
cases, the anonymous little men in charge of big functions are hard at
work, making down payments on Paris apartments and private jets. Are the
Generals Stealing Egypt?, Asia Times Online, October 18, 2011.) In their
August 24 LA Times commentary, Schenker and Lin speculate that Morsi
will get help from China, perhaps in return for a naval base on the
Mediterranean, or the keys to Egypt's F-16 and Abrams Tank factories.
They cite a 2009 cable published by WikiLeaks warning that Egypt "had
more potential Section 3 [Arms Export Control Act] violations than any
country in the world."

China's interest in, and willing to finance, the feckless fanatics in
Cairo might be exaggerated. But if Egypt turns into North Korea on the
Nile under Muslim Brotherhood rule, China will feel right at home with
the new regime.

America is confronted by a new and unwelcome set of alliances in the
Middle East. Its cluster of allies - Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Jordan
and Israel - is reduced to only two. Saudi Arabia rails in vain at the
"summit aligned towards Iran", as Emad El Bin Adeeb derided the
Non-Aligned movement event on August 23 in the Saudi newspaper Asharq
Alawsat. [13]

Israel was wrong-footed by the Egyptian government's challenge to the
Camp David treaty, and is absorbed in a wrenching debate over the merits
of a pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear program. Turkey, whose
Islamist government was promoted as a model of Islamic democracy by the
Bush administration as well as by President Obama, is paralyzed by the
chaos on its border, fearful that the Kurdish problem will spill over
into its own territory. Jordan's monarchy hopes to survive by making
concession after concession to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Russia plays all sides, negotiating with Israel for the price of denying
advanced anti-missile systems to Iran, while sustaining Iran's allies in
Syria's beleaguered Assad regime. As the world's largest oil producer,
Russia stands to gain from the insecurity of Persian Gulf oil supplies.
China watches on the sidelines wondering which of the pieces are worth

If and when Iran acquires deliverable nuclear weapons, the Middle East
will shift irreparably into a state that Americans barely can begin to
fathom. Paradoxically, an Israeli strike on Iran - in open defiance of
the Obama administration's wishes - might offer the only hope of
restoring America's failing position.

A former Israeli diplomat, Yoram Ettinger, draws a parallel to Levi
Eshkol's decision to preempt a building Arab attack on Israel in the
June 1967 war. Eshkol, he observed on August 17, "preempted the anti-US
Arab axis; devastated a clear and present danger to vital Western
interests; rescued the House of Saud from the wrath of Nasser; expedited
the end of the pro-Soviet Nasser regime and the rise of the pro-US Sadat
regime in Egypt; dealt a major setback to Soviet interests; and
demonstrated Israel's capability to snatch the hottest chestnuts out of
the fire, without a single US boot on the ground." [14]

With Iran neutralized, the Assad regime in Syria would become a
friendless, purposeless hulk, and the Morsi regime in Egypt the
proprietor of a failed and hungry state. Iraq, absent Iranian influence,
would settle down into low-intensity violence without regional
implications. Once again, the House of Saud would be rescued from the
wrath of an overreaching Egyptian leader and US influence would
predominate in the Gulf.

Egypt is a lost cause where Washington is concerned, but it could be a
ruined cause for anyone else. As I wrote in May

Interdicting the Brotherhood, in turn, requires an uncharacteristic
harshness on the part of American policy. War correspondent Peter Arnett
might have concocted the notorious statement, "It became necessary to
destroy the town to save it," supposedly said by an American officer of
the Vietnamese provincial capital Ben Tre in 1968. Something like that
might be the outcome for Egypt. (See The Horror and the pita, Asia Times
Online, May 1, 2012) It may sound cold, but someone has to say it.

1. For Indian Punchline blog, see here.
2. See here.
3. See here.
4. See here.
5. See here.
6. See here.
7. See here.
8. See here.
9. See here.
10. See here.
11. See here.
12. See here.
13. See here.
14. See here.

Spengler is channeled by David P Goldman, president of Macrostrategy
LLC. His book How Civilizations Die (and why Islam is Dying, Too) was
published by Regnery Press in September 2011. A volume of his essays on
culture, religion and economics, It's Not the End of the World - It's
Just the End of You, also appeared last autumn, from Van Praag Press.

(2) Israeli soldiers expose plight of Palestinian children


August 27 2012

Ruth Pollard reports from Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

THE Israel Defence Force's arbitrary use of violence against Palestinian
children, including forcing them to act as human shields in military
operations, has been exposed by veteran soldiers in detailed statements
chronicling dozens of brutal incidents.

The most disturbing trend that emerges from the soldiers' testimonies
relates to the wounding and killing of children in the occupied West
Bank and Gaza by either targeted shooting or by failing to protect
minors during military operations, the report from veteran soldiers'
group Breaking the Silence says.

"The commander gripped the kid, stuck his gun in his mouth . . . The kid
was hardly able to walk. We dragged him further, and then he said again:
'One more time this kid lifts a stone, anything, I kill him. No mercy',"
one former soldier states.

Another recalls: "There was an ambush where a kid coming up with a
Molotov cocktail had his leg blown off. They laid ambush exactly at that
spot. Kids came, the soldiers were there, the kids lit a bottle, and
they were shot in the leg."

The release of the testimonies follows the publication of two damning
reports — one from a group of eminent British lawyers who visited
Israel's military courts and the other from the human rights
organisation Defence of Children International — that detail multiple
violations of international law by Israel in its treatment of children.

These include Israel's practice of holding Palestinian children in
solitary confinement and denying them legal representation, as well as
its use of physical violence, shackles and coerced confessions in

"It is crucial that people in Israel are confronted about what it means
for Palestinian children to live under military occupation," says Yehuda
Shaul, one of the founders of Breaking the Silence.

All the incidents detailed in the report occurred in what Israel admits
is a "quiet period" — from 2005 to 2011, after the violence and suicide
bombings of the second Palestinian intifada, in which at least 972
Israelis and 3315 Palestinians died.

Israeli soldiers and Palestinian children come into regular conflict as
Israel seeks to maintain its control over areas of the West Bank where
300,000 settlers live across the 1967 "Green Line" in contravention of
international law.

Children throw stones to protest against the presence of soldiers and
settlers, sometimes with deadly consequences, soldiers say.

But that does not excuse the use of excessive force against children or
the military's consistent arbitrary invasion of villages and homes as
part of a campaign to suppress the Palestinian population of the West
Bank, Mr Shaul says.

"Every soldier who has served in the occupied territories has these
images of breaking into a house in the middle of the night, little
children are crying, you wake up the family," he says.

"That is 24 hours a day, seven days a week you have patrols that bump
into random houses and disrupt the life of people — that is idea — it is
what we call in the military litzur tchushat nirdafaut' or 'to create
the feeling of being chased'."

Mr Shaul says it is only once soldiers have finished their active duty
and begin to think as civilians that they can see the military's actions
in a different light — when the order to shoot to kill a child who is
200 metres away and not threatening anyone stops making sense.

"This is what our society is made of, you cannot ignore it, you cannot
just run away from it — this is who we are as people and I think this is
something we should face."

But according to the Israeli government, Palestinian children pose a
grave threat to the country's security.

"Over a period of years now we have seen Palestinian minors involved in
violence against Israeli civilians, whether it is throwing rocks at
cars, whether it is throwing petrol bombs or Molotov cocktails," says
Mark Regev, the spokesman for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

"We have established a parallel system to deal with minors because we
recognise minors have special needs and . . . we are trying to do this
in a manner that is as sensitive as possible in very difficult conditions."

It was unfortunate, Mr Regev said, that militant Palestinian
organisations chose to put minors "on the front line".

He urged anyone with a complaint against the Israel Defence Forces to
come forward.

"We have a very strict code of behaviour under which our soldiers are
allowed to act and if there are violations of that code of behaviour
soldiers face discipline and they can go to jail.

"There is an independent part of the military that investigates all such
allegations . . . I don't think it is the norm but in any large system
there are aberrations and we have to stamp them out."

Sixteen-year-old Anan Tamimi has been arrested three times by the IDF,
and released each time without charge.

He lives in the West Bank village of al-Nabi Saleh, where there are
weekly clashes between the army and residents, who are protesting
against attempts by Israelis from the Halamish settlement and its
outposts to take over the al-Qawas Spring and the surrounding land.

Two human rights organisations — B'Tselem and the Association for Civil
Rights in Israel — have consistently expressed grave concerns about the
behaviour of the IDF at al-Nabi Saleh.

The first time Anan was taken by the IDF, the soldiers came at 3am. His
mother, Bushra Tamimi, says at one point there were more than 30
soldiers, some with dogs, on the second floor of the family's home.

The soldiers had a photograph and they were searching Anan's closet and
drawers to try to find clothes that matched the person in the
photograph, Mrs Tamimi told the Age. They found nothing to link her son
to the photograph, but they took him anyway.

"When they took me outside the house . . . they turned my hands back to
my back and they tied my hands with this plastic tie and blindfolded my
eyes immediately," Anan says.

"I spent 17 hours in the settlement here . . . then they transferred me
to Ofer [Prison] . . . on the fourth day they took me to the court and .
. . I was released."

The second time he was arrested, he was again taken to the nearby
settlement of Halamish, where after several hours he was released, still
with his hands tied tightly behind his back and blindfolded, on the side
of the road and left to find his own way home, Anan says.

Soon after, using the same photograph that had been found by the IDF's
own military court to have no link to Anan, he was again arrested.

This time the 16-year-old spent 15 days in Ofer Prison before he was
released without charge.

With the quiet bravado of a teenage boy, he says he is not worried about
whether the Israeli army will raid his house again at night and take him

"If I am frightened of the soldiers I will not live my life, so it is
better not to be afraid."

The most common offence children are accused of is throwing stones, says
Gerard Horton, head of Defence of Children International in Palestine.

"But in many cases it is very difficult for the army to actually
identify who was throwing the stones . . . so the modus operandi of the
army appears to be that when an incident of stone-throwing does occur
someone has to be punished for that even if you cannot identify who the
perpetrator is.

"The army needs to maintain control in the West Bank and they need
provide protection to 300,000 settlers who are living in the West Bank,
contrary to international law. In order to do that they need to make
sure that any form of resistance, no matter what form that takes, has to
be crushed."

The IDF's spokesman, Major Arye Shalicar, said the security situation in
the West Bank had improved significantly because of the army's work.

"In the end if you compare it to 10 years ago we have had a decline in
suicide attacks," he said.

"We had hundreds of suicide murders in 2002 and none in 2012. It shows
that there is some kind of effectiveness in the actions of the security
establishment and its coordination with the Palestinian security forces."

If there was maltreatment of Palestinian children it was important that
the IDF investigate the claims, he said.

He expressed frustration that Breaking the Silence did not provide the
IDF or other relevant bodies with the information necessary to launch an

But Mr Shaul said it was important that Breaking the Silence protected
the identity of its sources, many of whom were breaching IDF policy to
expose the system of abuse.

Follow Ruth Pollard on Twitter @rpollard.

Extracts from testimonies of Israeli soldiers

First Sergeant, Kfir Brigade

"The commander gripped the kid, stuck his gun in his mouth, yelled ...
The kid was hardly able to walk. We dragged him further, and then he
said again: 'One more time this kid lifts a stone, anything, I kill him.
No mercy'."

Kfir Brigade, Ramallah

"We had lots of X's (marked on the side of a soldier's rifle, indicating
the number of people he's killed] at that time. The battalion loved it.
There was an ambush around there where a kid coming up with a Molotov
cocktail had his leg blown off. They laid ambush exactly at that spot.
Kids came, the soldiers were there, the kids lit a bottle, and they were
shot in the leg."

First Sergeant, Nablus

"We would enter villages on a daily basis, at least twice or three times
a day, to make our presence felt, and ... it was like we were occupying
them. Showing we're there, that the area is ours, not theirs. At first
you point your gun at some five-year-old kid, and feel bad afterward,
saying it's not right. Then you get to a point where ... you get so
nervous and sick of going into a village and getting stones thrown at you."

First Sergeant, Hebron

"So there's a school there. We'd often provoke riots there. We'd be on
patrol, walking in the village, bored, so we'd trash shops, find a
detonator, beat someone to a pulp, you know how it is. Search, mess it
all up. Say we'd want a riot? We'd go up to the windows of a mosque,
smash the panes, throw in a stun grenade, make a big boom, then we'd get
a riot."

(3) Israel refuses to let supporters of Palestine enter the occupied

Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2012 21:56:36 +0300 From: Mazin Qumsiyeh

(Note 1: I am in Jordan now with limited accessibility by phone and
email. Back at the end of the week.)

(Note 2: If you are interested to attend a workshop in the Bethlehem
area this weekend that is organizing for the one democratic state,
please email onestate@palestinejn.org )

On Sunday Israeli occupation forces denied entry to the occupied
Palestinian territories for 100 visitors in the third Welcome to
Palestine Campaign (WTP3). Media was present on both sides of the
crossing from Jordan. Jordanian and Palestinian officials were involved
and we appreciate their effort to facilitate this visit. But as in
previous campaigns, Israeli authorities showed the world that they have
something sinister to hide. These visitors were peaceful internationals
ranging in age from 8-80 year-old simply wanting to visit Palestinians
under occupation. Gush Shalom said in response to our campaign: "The
country's border crossings are wide open to the international friends of
the violent settlers.[while] When the Palestinians living under Israel's
rule try to invite guests to come and visit them, the government of
Israel instructs the army and police to block their way."

Israel's policy is routine deportation of internationals who come to
visit us under occupation. Thus internationals are forced to not
disclose the purpose of their visit. We in the civil society
organizations who invited these visitors and organized the schedule for
them are rather disappointed at the Israeli government behavior but not
totally surprised. We are not surprised that Israel proves with its
actions that it is an apartheid state. Civil society organizations
which called for boycott, divestments, and sanctions (BDS) analogous to
those implemented against apartheid South Africa are encouraged by the
response of civil society around the world. When governments fail to
act people must and do act. We are encouraged by the growth of the BDS
movement. Steps taken like those by the United Church of Canada to
begin BDS against settlement products must be widened to BDS actions
against all Israeli products. Steps taken by South Africa and that
irked the Zionist lobbies in that country must be expanded to all
countries. If we genuinely want peace then we must work for justice.

Meanwhile life goes on. Tuesday 28 August we will finally get to hear a
verdict in the trial for the killing of our friend Rachel Corrie. Our
friend Rachel was murdered nearly 10 years ago by Israeli soldiers
driving a US-funded and US-made killing machine. The company
(Caterpillar) still continues to supply these specialized armored
bulldozers used to destroy Palestinian lives and livelihoods. There are
many ways to participate and get involved. See

The fall semester is starting. I have students at Bethlehem University
and at Birzeit University and they are energetic and motivated. A
workshop in Jordan that I am attending is about learning to distinguish
bat species via their echolocation sounds. I and one of my students are
hosted in two nature reserves in Jordan. It is obvious that at the
level of the people here they do not accept the artificial divisions
created by Western countries that divided the Arab world into these
artificial countries. Arab unity was shown to us for example by the
outpouring of support from Jordanians and Palestinians living here to
the plight of the Syrian refugees who flooded into Jordan as the Syrian
tragedy unfolded. I am always inspired and energized when I say good
people doing good work for fellow human beings. And now for a few days
of science as we conservation activists (Egyptian, Lebanese, Jordanian,
and other) learn about bat conservation and echolocation at two wildlife
parks in Jordan. Here in Jordan with the WTP3 campaign, with fellow
human rights activists from Europe, and with fellow Arabs, I only see a
bright future despite the challenges ahead of us.

(4) Israel refuses to let supporters of Palestine enter the occupied


Israel bars 100 international activists from crossing into West Bank

The demonstrators arrived at the Allenby Bridge over the Jordan River in
two buses, but when they reached the Israeli side they were not allowed
to disembark.

By Amira Hass

Haaretz, August 27, 2012

Israel prevented some 100 pro-Palestinian activists from entering the
West Bank on Sunday evening from Jordan at the Allenby Bridge crossing.
The demonstrators, from France, Belgium and other European countries,
bore an official invitation from the governor of Bethlehem, a senior
Fatah official named Abdel-Fattah Hamaiel. The activists were carrying
gifts including writing implements for the children of Bethlehem in
honor of the beginning of the school year on Monday.

The demonstrators arrived at the Allenby Bridge over the Jordan River in
two buses, but when they reached the Israeli side they were not allowed
to disembark.

At the crossing, an Israeli official in civilian clothes collected all
the passports from the passengers on the first bus and returned them
after 10 minutes - all with a "denied entry" stamp.

The second bus was not even allowed to approach the Israeli side of the
crossing, and the passports of its passengers were not even collected.
The passengers got off the bus and demanded that Israeli officials
explain why they were being denied entry, but they were ordered back on
the bus; the driver was told to turn around.

Many of the activists had previously participated in such events as the
annual Welcome to Palestine "flytilla." Their goal is to stress the
Palestinian people's right to host visitors from other countries that
have diplomatic relations with Israel as they see fit - the same right
accorded to Israeli citizens.

The Jordanian official in charge of the Allenby crossing met with the
activists in his office before they attempted to enter Israel, and said
he knew of their arrival and of the invitation. But he advised them that
Israel might prevent their entry, noting that Jordan played no part in
that refusal whatsoever.

(5) Israeli government willingly lays foundations for Jewish terrorism


By Yossi Gurvitz

+972 Mag

Published August 22, 2012

Israeli government willingly lays foundations for Jewish terrorism

When the pogromchiks from Jerusalem go to court, they'll have a strong
case, saying they only did what was expected of them.

Israel officially condemned last week the fact Jewish terrorists
attacked a Palestinian vehicle with Molotov cocktails, wounding six of
its passengers. Prime Minister Netanyahu quickly had an envoy call
Palestinian President Abbas, and promised him Israel would put those
responsible on trial. If Abbas is buying this, given Israel's record
regarding the price-taggers, then I have some juicy bridges to sell him
at very reasonable prices.

This attack took place on Thursday afternoon. Several hours later, a
gang of proud Jewish hoodlums tried to lynch three Palestinians in
Jerusalem. The attackers, most of whom appear to have been juveniles,
were uttering cries like “a Jew is a soul, an Arab is a son of a whore”
and the all-time crowd pleaser, “Death to Arabs.” The goons also tried
to prevent emergency forces from treating the victims. One of them is
critically wounded.

During the attack on the dorms of Palestinian students in Safed two
years ago, inspired by the town's rabbi Shmuel Eliahu's ban on renting
apartments to non-Jews, the calls of “A Jew is a soul” were heard
(Hebrew). The same cry is common (Hebrew) among the fans of racist group
Beitar Jerusalem (which sidelines as a soccer team). The supremacists
we're dealing with have nothing to be proud of aside from the fact of
their Jewishness, used in the minimalist Orthodox sense of thinking
every Jew is a priori superior to every non-Jew.

Hence the speaking of “souls” as a battle cry: a common Orthodox concept
is that non-Jews do not have souls. This concept is very strong in
Kabbalah (I guess Madonna is in for some nasty shock; being not just a
gentile but a woman makes her a particular object of hatred), but exists
elsewhere (such as in the Talmudic concept of “you [Jews] are human,
they [non-Jews] are not, and Yehuda Halevi's Kuzari, which rates being
on an “inanimate-vegetable-animal-speaking being-Jew” scale).

The attackers quickly spread the lie that they went on the warpath
because one of the victims tried to flirt with a Jewish girl. This
fiction, the attempt to violate a pure-blooded female of the master
race, is well known to us from any racism regime, from the American
South to Nazi Germany. Such attacks are becoming common: in at least one
case, that of Pinhas Aburamed, it ended in murder (Hebrew). One
organized pogrom against Palestinians took place in Pisgat Ze'ev in
2008, and drew some short public attention because the attackers chose
the eve of Holocaust Memorial Day as their time of attack. After some
suspects were arrested, eight rabbis – most of them employed by the
state – wrote a public letter in their defense (Hebrew).

The pogromchiks from Jerusalem would be able to say in their defense
that they were only doing what their political leadership urged them to
do. They will have a very strong case. Last year, Likud MK Hotovely
invited the racist organization Lehava (more about it here) to speak
about the risks of “assimilation” in the Knesset. The leader of Lehava,
Benzi Gopstein, is on record (Hebrew) saying Pinhas Aburamed, who
murdered a Palestinian he thought was trying to flirt with a Jewish
girl, is a hero and should receive a medal. While Gopstein was playing
the extremist in Hotolevy's comittee, the general manager of the
Education Ministry was telling the committee much the same thing, albeit
in more controlled language: he said (Hebrew) the Ministry will attempt
curb “assimilation” by “acting to increase Jewish identity” through
“education for family life.” The ministry, in short, accepted Gopstein
and Lehava's basic assumption: “assimilation” – a relationship between a
Jew and a non-Jew – is a problem the ministry ought to address. This is
the same ministry, under the same minister (Likud's Gideon Sa'ar) that
forbade the teaching of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to
students, fearing they may learn they have the right to convert to
another religion (Hebrew).

In one of the Knesset's worse moments. MK Danny Danon claimed that
Bedouins in Israel are responsible for over 1,000 kidnappings of Jewish
girls every year (Hebrew). The police said in response it is unaware of
even one such case. Danon merely repeated his lies.

Lehava (the Hebrew acronym stands for for “preventing assimilation in
the holy land”) has a record of expressing satisfaction with lynch
attempts – including against African refugees. So, naturally, its main
activist is supported by the government, through an NGO ironically
called Hemla (“compassion”). Other NGOs opposed to “assimilation,” such
as the veteran Yad Le'Ahim, are supported by the Interior Ministry and
aid it unofficially.

Assuming the attackers – both in Jerusalem and the West Bank – need
legal aid, the NGO Honenu, dedicated to the defense of Jewish
terrorists, would spring to action. Honenu receives tax exemption status
from Netanyahu's government; at the same time, the government denied
that status to Rabbis for Human Rights, claiming it is “political.”
Honenu is connected to “Ha'Kol Ha'Yehudi,” a leading extremist Jewish
pride site which was quick to celebrate the Jerusalem pogrom (Hebrew).
In turn, it is operated by the students of the extremist yeshiva of
Yitzhar, which so worried the ISA that it tried to close it; but the
Ministry of Education keeps funding the yeshiva. Recently, the
prosecution decided not to indict two of the yeshiva rabbis, who wrote a
gentile-killing manual; it also sent the aforementioned Shmuel Eliahu
home scot-free. The reasoning was that Israeli law against racism does
specifically exempts racism, if it is expressed in religious terms.

To sum, Eliahu, Honenu and Lehava, as well as the yeshiva of Yitzhar,
are funded by the State of Israel. At the same time, MKs like Danon and
Hotolevy are warning us (quietly supported by the Ministry of Education)
that the Palestinians are after our women. I wonder whether the cops who
arrested the Jerusalem goons uttered the famous quote from Casablanca,
that they were shocked, shocked at what they did. The hoodlums
themselves could claim, with reason, they merely did what they were
taught to do in school and urged to do by their elected officials. The
Netanyahu government, in short, provides the “infrastructure” of the
Jewish Brotherhood.

Israeli leftists often compare their country to apartheid South Africa
or the dying Weimar Republic. The comparison is not without merit. (Even
though one suspects it is the left's infatuation with martyrdom that
makes the Weimar comparison so popular.) But perhaps another model needs
to be examined: that of Pakistan. A country whose identity is violently
religious, with an army too strong for its own good, nuclear weapons
(according to foreign reports), and a rapidly-disintegrating claim to
support the United States, which funds it generously while its education
system teaches its students to hate all infidels, and its young people,
considering themselves victimized, engage in state-supported terrorism.

(6) Norman Finkelstein breaks with Chomsky on denial of Lobby's power


Why American Jews are falling out of love with Israel

New Internationalist magazine

ISSUE 453, June 2012

Peace may be possible in the Israel-Palestine conflict, and American
Jews may bring it about. Far-fetched? Not according to outspoken scholar
Norman Finkelstein , who argues in his latest book that Israel's
excesses are irreconcilable with liberal Jewish values. He explains his
thinking to Hazel Healy.

Both your parents are Holocaust survivors. How has this influenced your
views of Israel?

My parents were strong supporters of the Soviet Union because they
believed – rightly – that it was the Red Army that defeated the Nazis.
They looked at the world through the prism of the Nazi holocaust. When
Israel aligned with the US early in the Cold War, my parents came to
loathe Israel. But it did not figure in my upbringing.

You have been quoted as saying that the 1982 war in Lebanon ended your
indifference to the Middle East's troubles. What was it about that
particular event that forced a reaction?

In the course of Israel's 1982 attack on Lebanon, it killed 15-20,000
Lebanese and Palestinians, overwhelmingly civilians. The war climaxed in
the Sabra-Shatila massacre, but that was only a small blip on the real
screen. Once I got involved, I began to read a lot on the subject and
wrote my doctoral thesis on Zionism. Unfortunately, the conflict never
found a resolution, so I couldn't in good conscience extricate myself
from it.

The main thrust of your book is that the era of 'beautiful Israel' has
passed for American Jews. What are the main drivers of this alienation?

American Jews are liberal. They have consistently supported the
Democratic Party since Franklin D Roosevelt's New Deal. Because so much
more is now known about the Israel-Palestine conflict, it has become
impossible for American Jews to reconcile their liberal beliefs with
Israeli conduct.

You contend that US support for Israel is on a precipitous decline, but
you also relate how all US politicians, and the media, vehemently
opposed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' statehood bid in 2011. What
proof do you have that American Jews' dissatisfaction with Israel is
truly on the wane?

The polls overwhelmingly show that support for Israel among American
Jews is on the decline. There have also been high-profile 'defections'
in recent times, including the editor of the New Yorker (David Remnick),
the former editor of the New Republic (Peter Beinart) and, in late
April, a Nobel laureate in Economics (Paul Krugman).
Public opinion is not always registered in the political arena. One can
cite a hundred examples of policies Americans in general support – such
as on healthcare – that are never mentioned in public debate.

Explain your critique of the influential Israel Lobby. Did authors John
Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt overstate its power?

The debate on the Israel lobby tends to oscillate between two poles:
some say it determines US foreign policy in the Middle East in favour of
Israel and against American national interests, whereas others say that
US élites determine American foreign policy and Israel subserves US
interests. In my opinion, the Israel lobby does determine US policy in
the Israel-Palestine conflict, because this is a secondary issue for US
élites (an irritant, rather than a primary concern), whereas when it
comes to fundamental regional concerns (Iraq, Iran), it is the US that
calls the shots.

American Jews may not know every detail of the Israel-Palestine conflict
but they know it ain't a pretty picture

How will the 'lobby' of die-hard supporters be affected by the shift in
how liberal American Jews view Israel?

They will lose some of their political clout, but still will retain some
of it because a lot of wealthy rightwing Jews will still contribute to
'the cause'. It also depends on whether disaffected American Jews fall
silent or publicly criticize Israeli policy. This in turn will depend on
whether a solution to the conflict that American Jews can embrace is on
the table or whether the only alternative they are offered is the whole
dissolution or liquidation of Israel. We need to be able to present to
American Jews a reasonable resolution based on incontrovertible
principles of law.

You praise the reports of human rights groups in helping to distinguish
facts from 'Zionist fiction'. But, at the same time, you criticize Human
Rights Watch (HRW) for its report on Lebanon. What mistakes did it make?

HRW does not make 'mistakes'. It makes political calculations. It relies
heavily on liberal Jewish donors, so it occasionally trims its sails
when it comes under heavy attack by the Israel lobby. Although Israel
fired four million cluster submunitions on south Lebanon when the war
was already over in August 2006, HRW could not find evidence that Israel
had committed war crimes. It was very shameful, and cowardly.

You make a compelling case for how academic literature has shown up the
holes in the dominant Israeli narrative. But how do you see these hard
facts filtering down to the general public, or American Jews of a less
scholarly bent?

American Jews are tapped into the circuits of liberal culture; they
attend the best colleges and universities in the US. They may not know
every detail of the Israel-Palestine conflict but they know enough to
know it ain't a pretty picture.

If you could choose just one glaring falsehood regarding Israeli history
that you would like the world to know, what would it be?

Your readers would gain a lot from reading Zeev Maoz's Defending the
Holy Land. After an exhaustive review of the scholarly literature he
concludes that, with the 'possible exception' of the 1948 war, Israel
has never fought a war of self-defence.

You pull no punches in your writing. Books that relay the Israeli
version of events are described as 'sheer fraud', 'absurdities',
'shoddy' and 'rancid propaganda'. You also take both sides – pro- and
anti-Israel – to task: critiquing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
Movement, as well as old foes like Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz. Do
you ever tire of conflicts and clashes?

Yes, I do tire. But I don't intend on being anyone's useful idiot. Die
Gedanken sind frei [Thoughts are free] – that's my credo.

How do you think the revolts that swept the Arab world in 2011 will
affect US-Israeli relations?

Too soon to tell, although clearly Israel can no longer depend on the
lock-step obedience of its hitherto two major allies in the Muslim-Arab
world: Turkey and Egypt.

You argue that the distancing of American Jews from Israel will
ultimately benefit Israelis as much as Palestinians. Explain how.

Israel has become a crazy state, intoxicated by its power and
self-righteousness, which can and does act with impunity because of the
US veto. It desperately needs a sobering-up. Paul Krugman wrote the
other day that it's heading toward 'national suicide'. I think he's right.

What steps do you think need to be taken to resolve the Israel-Palestine
conflict? Do you support a two-state solution, for example?

Personally, I would prefer no states, in the Middle East as elsewhere.
But such a preference has no bearing on politics. I support the maximum
that can be achieved now, which is the solution supported by the whole
of the international community: two states on the June 1967 border and a
'just resolution' of the refugee question based on the right of return
and compensation.

Knowing Too Much by Norman Finkelstein was published by Or Books in June

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