Aletho News


Nuke pushers to Vermont: ‘Drop dead’

By Harvey Wasserman | Online Journal | March 18, 2010

The nuclear power industry is sending a clear and forceful message to the citizens of Vermont: “Drop dead.”

The greeting applies to Ohio, New York, California and a nation under assault from a “renaissance” so far hyped with more than $640 million in corporate cash.

The Vermont attack includes:

1) A direct threat to ignore the state Senate’s 26-4 February vote against renewing the Yankee reactor’s operating license. As a condition of buying Yankee, Entergy long-ago ceded to the legislature approval of any extension of an operating license, which expires in 2012. But Entergy now says it will spend all the corporate cash it needs to evict the current Senate and install one more to its liking.

2) Vermont’s pro-nuclear Republican Governor Jim Douglas says the Senate’s vote is “meaningless.” Douglas is not running for re-election but is certain to become a high-priced Yankee arm-twister when he leaves office.

3) Entergy has also implied that if it fails to buy itself a pro-nuke legislature in 2010, it will sue over any denial of the license extension.

4) Entergy is trying to shift ownership of Yankee into a shell corporation called Enexus which would allow it to avoid financial exposure. The scheme has been attacked by regulators and analysts in New York (Entergy also owns Indian Point) and elsewhere. “With its leaks and lies,” says Yankee activist Deb Katz, VY “is a liability for Entergy and a black eye” which some observers think the industry may want to jettison.

5) Entergy’s decommissioning fund has been radically drained by stock market losses and mismanagement. It retains nowhere near enough money for safe dismantlement, so Entergy says Yankee must operate for decades more to recoup the losses.

6) Under oath and in public, Entergy officials have denied the existence of underground piping at Vermont Yankee which does exist and is leaking radioactive tritium as well as other deadly isotopes.

7) A probe (nicknamed “Rover”) sent into the piping system to locate the leak has become stuck in radioactive muck.

8) State regulators and others warn that Yankee’s radioactive offal may already be pouring into the Connecticut River.

As angry citizens in Vermont and downwind New Hampshire and Massachusetts are told their worries have no place in a reactor renaissance, the message to “drop dead” has spread.

In Ohio, the infamous Davis-Besse reactor has turned up — again — with potentially catastrophic defects. In 2002 Davis-Besse came within a fraction of an inch of a catastrophic meltdown when boric acid ate nearly all the way through the reactor pressure vessel. Now assemblies that guide rods into the reactor core are again cracking. Davis-Besse’s owner, First Energy, is ignoring demands from terrified downwinders that the nuke be permanently shut.

In New York, Entergy’s Indian Point is leaking inside and out. Entergy continues to resist public demands for shut-down or a definitive clean up.

In California, Pacific Gas & Electric is pushing hard to extend the operating license for its Diablo Canyon reactor, ignoring public demands for a three-year project to map earthquake faults that run within three miles of the plant.

Full article

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal

March 18, 2010 Posted by | Nuclear Power | Comments Off on Nuke pushers to Vermont: ‘Drop dead’

Israeli Military Investigator Admits Failures in Military Investigation of Rachel Corrie’s Killing

Rachel Corrie Foundation | March 18, 2010

March 17, 2010 the Haifa District Court saw a fourth day of testimony in the civil lawsuit filed by Rachel Corrie’s family against the State of Israel for her unlawful killing in Rafah, Gaza. Rachel Corrie, an American human rights defender from Olympia, Washington, was crushed to death on March 16, 2003 by a Caterpillar D9R bulldozer. She had been nonviolently demonstrating against Palestinian home demolitions with fellow members of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a Palestinian-led movement committed to resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land using nonviolent, direct action methods and principles.

An Israeli military police investigator, who was part of the team that investigated Rachel’s killing, testified today. In his testimony he stated that:

* He never inspected the site where the killing occurred; nor did he ever sit inside the D9 bulldozer to see for himself the view the driver had and what the field of vision was.

* He admitted that the Israeli military’s D9 bulldozer regulations state that the D9s should not be operated with civilians in close proximity. He failed to question the bulldozer driver about these regulations or make them part of the military police investigation file.

* He received a court order authorizing Rachel’s autopsy under the condition that an official from the U.S. Embassy be present, and at the time informed the court that the condition would be upheld. Subsequently, he made no effort to ensure that this condition was upheld, nor does he know if anyone else did, stating he did not consider the follow-up his responsibility. He also failed to forward the final autopsy report to the court, even though this was required, stating that his commander did not require him to do so and that he simply “did not pay attention” to the court order. Dr. Hiss ultimately performed the autopsy without an American Embassy official present.

* To his knowledge, no ISM member was arrested the afternoon of March 16 for interfering with Israeli military activities.

American eyewitness Gregory Schnabel, the fourth and last eye-witness called to testify, also testified today, providing his account of the killing of Ms. Corrie. Gregory testified that he saw Rachel climb to the top of the pile of dirt being pushed by the bulldozer and that she was visible to the driver. He also testified that a bulldozer had come close to himself and another ISM member that afternoon, stopping just short of hitting them, which led him to believe that the demonstrators were visible to the driver.

The trial will resume on Sunday, March 21, 2010, at 9 a.m. at the district court in Haifa.

Trial updates can be found at the link below:


March 18, 2010 Posted by | Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on Israeli Military Investigator Admits Failures in Military Investigation of Rachel Corrie’s Killing

Storm over Israeli settlements as unreal as the peace process

Hasan Abu Nimah, The Electronic Intifada, 18 March 2010
US Vice President Joe Biden laughs with Israeli President Shimon Peres in Jerusalem, 9 March 2010. (David Lienemann/White House Photo)

Since Israel announced yet another new settlement in occupied East Jerusalem during the visit of US Vice President Joe Biden last week, Israel has been subjected to a storm of criticism from friend and foe alike. Biden was in Jerusalem to show US support for Israel and to launch “proximity talks” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) of Ramallah. Instead the Israeli announcement caused him and the US administration deep embarrassment, prompting several officials to term it an “insult” and an “affront” and to stir talk of the worst crisis in US-Israeli relations in decades.
This might be music to the ears of those long frustrated by American silence on Israel’s constant violations of international law, but it actually amounts to little.

Just before Biden’s visit, US envoy George Mitchell had been in the region to orchestrate the proximity talks. It seemed a final hurdle had been removed when the Arab League gave diplomatic cover to PA leader Mahmoud Abbas to join the talks for a limited period of four months. Just then Israel dropped the latest settlement bombshell blowing the whole thing up.

The proximity talks device was highly controversial already. Skeptics pointed out that an additional few months of indirect talks would be of no use when almost two decades of direct negotiations — with ostensibly less hardline Israeli governments — had produced absolutely nothing. The talks were also perceived as blatant American and international capitulation to Israeli intransigence, and yet a desperately needed cover for the total US failure to get Israel to agree to a real settlement freeze as a condition for resuming direct talks. All the misgivings were confirmed by Israel’s announcement of the 1,600 settler homes.

It would have been scandalous for Palestinians — even as weak and compromised as Abbas’ authority — to engage under such conditions. The PA expressed strong objections, demanding that the Israeli plan be withdrawn before returning to the talks. So it seemed it was back to square one.

But this is only part of the story. If the proximity talks blew up, it was at least as much the fault of the US administration itself as it was that of Israel. Let’s recall the real sequence of events. On 8 March, just two days before Biden’s visit, Israel announced the construction of an additional 112 units in Beitar Illit settlement near Bethlehem — violating its own self-declared 10-month moratorium outside what it defines as Jerusalem. PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat issued one of his routine statements, but there were no threats by the PA to boycott the talks.

Even worse, the US seemed to provide cover for the Israeli move; State Department spokesman PJ Crowley told reporters then that the Beitar Illit decision “does not violate the moratorium that the Israelis previously announced,” although he allowed that “this is the kind of thing that both sides need to be cautious of as we move ahead with these parallel talks.”

Netanyahu may have been — justifiably — surprised by the strength of the US rhetorical reaction later after the Jerusalem announcement (and that of EU, UN and other international officials who added their own “strong” criticism only after they got an American green light). None of these people ever bothered much about settlement expansion before. Why this one, why now? After all, Israel never told anyone it would freeze settlement construction in what it defines as “greater” Jerusalem!

Despite Netanyahu’s denial that he knew in advance of the announcement, it is clear Israel was sending a message to the peace process chorus. First, that renewed talks would not mean any slow down in colonization schemes on occupied lands. Second, that Israeli-defined Jerusalem is outside the scope of any negotiations. Third, Netanyahu does not need the talks — for him they are only a cover for colonization — so he could afford the risk that the talks would be jeopardized knowing full well that the US reaction would be limited at worst to words of criticism.

Netanyahu has nevertheless admitted that it was a miscalculation to announce a major new settlement when Biden was visiting precisely to emphasize US support for Israel. But for him the mistake was only in timing, not in substance. Indeed, despite all the strong American criticism over the weekend, Netanyahu announced on Monday that settlement-building in Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank would continue as normal as it has for 43 years. Since 1967, settler roads and settlements, now home to half a million Israeli Jews, have eaten up more than 46 percent of the West Bank.

During the colonization years which have been constantly accompanied by Israeli aggression, confiscation of territory and additional ethnic cleansing and displacement of Palestinians, the international community showed little or no anger at Israel, other than occasional empty statements of disapproval, and it kept up business as usual.

The Palestinian Liberation Organization and later the Palestinian Authority, also negotiated year after year with Israel and signed accords and agreements while the land was being openly colonized and the Palestinian people were constantly persecuted and viciously uprooted. Arab states for their part have negotiated and signed peace treaties while the occupation remained firmly in place and the process of settlement building went on.

So if for 43 years there has been continuous occupation accompanied with continuous settlement building while the international community was maintaining a deadly and a cowardly silence, why all the sudden noise over 1,600 additional housing units? It is neither the first project nor will it be the last. And notice that for all its complaints, the United States pointedly did not require Israel to cancel the project. It would never dare do that. Instead within a few days, the US will be pressuring the PA to return to futile negotiations while the settlement construction carries on.

Remember Jabal Abu Ghneim, the forested hill near Bethlehem that Netanyahu decided to build on in the 1990s against strenuous American and international objections that it would “destroy the peace process?” Today the trees are gone and in their place are only Israeli apartment buildings. But the fake, fraudulent “peace process” continues as if nothing happened. This theatrical storm will also slowly die down and the settlements construction will steadily keep up.

Hasan Abu Nimah is the former permanent representative of Jordan at the United Nations. This essay first appeared in The Jordan Times.

March 18, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 1 Comment

Obama not welcome in Indonesia

Press TV – March 18, 2010

Islamic leaders in Indonesia say that US President Barack Obama’s policies towards the Muslim world are no different than his predecessors.

The leaders say they are disappointed by Obama’s last year Cairo speech in which he tried to reduce tensions between the Islamic world and the United States.

“During the last few months after that speech, almost one year, nothing has been realized so far,” VOA quoted Din Syamsuddin, head of Mohamadiyah, the second-largest Islamic organization in Indonesia.

Professor Azyumardi Azra of the Islamic State University in Jakarta said, “Muslims in general of course expect also that President Obama talk about how he is going to resolve the continued conflicts in Palestine, also in Iraq and in Afghanistan.”

The remarks came as Obama canceled his trip to Australia and Indonesia to work with lawmakers on passing his health care legislation.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters that Obama will reschedule his trip to the world’s largest Muslim majority country for June.

Last week, thousands of Indonesians held rallies in cities across the country to protest the visit. The protesters shouted slogans against Obama and his war policies. The leaders have accused Obama of following in former US President George W Bush’s footsteps on transparency issues relating to war on terror tactics.

March 18, 2010 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite | 1 Comment

Hide the decline and rewrite history?

By Joanne Nova | March 17, 2010

Human emissions of carbon dioxide began a sharp rise from 1945. But, temperatures, it seems, may have plummeted over half the globe during the next few decades. Just how large or how insignificant was that decline?

Frank Lansner has found an historical graph of northern hemisphere temperatures from the mid 70’s, and it shows a serious decline in temperatures from 1940 to 1975. It’s a decline so large that it wipes out the gains made in the first half of the century, and brings temperatures right back to what they were circa 1910. The graph was not peer reviewed, but presumably it was based on the best information available at the time. In any case, if all the global records are not available to check, it’s impossible to know how accurate or not this graph is. The decline apparently recorded was a whopping 0.5°C.

But, three decades later, by the time Brohan and the CRU graphed temperatures in 2006 from the same old time period, the data had been adjusted (surprise), so that what was a fall of 0.5°C had become just a drop of 0.15°C. Seventy percent of the cooling was gone.

Maybe they had good reasons for making these adjustments. But, as usual, the adjustments were in favor of the Big Scare Campaign, and the reasons and the original data are not easy to find.
Graph 1880 - 1976 NH temperatures

Matthews 1976, National Geographic, Temperatures 1880-1976

1880-1976 with CRU 2006 adjustments

The blue line is the adjusted CRU average from 2006

If temperature sets across the northern hemisphere were really showing that 1940 was as hot as 2000, that makes it hard to argue that the global warming that occurred from 1975 to 2000 was almost solely due to carbon, since it wasn’t unusual (at least not for half the globe), and didn’t correlate at all with our carbon emissions, the vast majority of which occurred after 1945.

The US records show that the 1930’s were as hot as the 1990’s. And the divergence problem in tree rings is well known. Many tree rings showed a decline after 1960 that didn’t “concur” with the surface records. Perhaps these tree rings agree with the surface records as recorded at the time, rather than as adjusted post hoc?  Perhaps the decline in the tree rings that Phil Jones worked to hide was not so much a divergence from reality, but instead was slightly more real than the surface-UHI-cherry-picked-and-poorly-sited records?

Climate Audit Graph: Esper tree rings

Esper – Tree ring widths declined from 1940-1975. Records after 1960 are sometimes ignored because they don’t fit the “temperature record”. (All timeseries were normalized over the 1881–1940 period. RCS, regional curve standardization; TRW, tree-ring width.) Thanks to ClimateAudit. (Link below)

Steven McIntyre discusses the Esper data here.

Frank Lansner also discusses the data from Scandinavia, which originally showed that temperatures were roughly level from mid-century to the end of the century, but that the large decline from 1940 to 1975 was…adjusted out of existence. (My post on that here).

Scandinavian Temperatures

Scandinavian Temperatures: 25 data series combined from The Nordklim database (left), compared to the IPCC’s temperature graph for the area.

Frank points out that while the older graph is not peer reviewed, the modern data sets are also not peer reviewed, so even if the papers they are published in are peer reviewed, it’s meaningless to claim this is significant when the underlying data can be adjusted years after its collection without documentation or review.

The CRU has an FAQ on their datasets, and it includes this comment on the accuracy of the hemispheric records:

In the hemispheric files averages are now given to a precision of three decimal places to enable seasonal values to be calculated to ±0.01°C. The extra precision implies no greater accuracy than two decimal places.

Do I read that correctly? After an adjustment that may be in the order of 0.34°C, the accuracy is ±0.01°C?

At the time when there was a Global Ice Age Scare, this graph appeared in Newsweek.

Newsweek: Global Temperatures 1880-1970

Newsweek: Global Temperatures 1880-1970 (NCAR)

Either 70% of the decline has been hidden in the years since then, or the climate scientists at the time were exaggerating the decline in order to support the Ice Age Scare (surely not!).

Full references available on Frank Lansner’s & Nicolai Skjoldby’s Blog. Stanley is derived from an NAS document. Mathews from National Geographic.

Thanks to Frank for his good work.

Brohan 2006 is linked here, with a pdf.

March 18, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | Comments Off on Hide the decline and rewrite history?

Emergency Internet control bill gets a rewrite

By Declan McCullagh | Cnet News | March 17, 2010

Sen. Jay Rockefeller alarmed technology and telecommunications firms last year when he announced a plan for the president to seize “emergency” control of the Internet. Now the West Virginia Democrat is trying again with a new version that aides hope will be seen as less extreme.

During a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill on Wednesday attended by about a dozen industry representatives, CNET has learned, Rockefeller’s staff pitched a revised version of his controversial cybersecurity legislation.

It says that after the president chooses to “declare a cybersecurity emergency,” he can activate a “response and restoration plan” involving networks owned and operated by the private sector. In an attempt to limit criticism, instead of spelling out the plan’s details, the latest draft simply says that it must be developed by the White House in advance.

There is no requirement that the emergency response plan be made public, meaning it could still include a forcible disconnection of critical Web sites from the Internet–which is what the March 2009 version of the legislation had proposed.

Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, whose members include Verisign, Verizon, and Raytheon, says no disconnection language is explicitly in the bill: “We are pleased that the ‘kill switch’ allowing for the government to shut down private sector access to the Internet has been eliminated.”

But, Clinton said, “We think the bill still has a long way to go.” If the private sector is expected to help out with national security, he said, there ought to be liability protections, insurance breaks, and tax credits for small businesses.

A spokesman for Rockefeller did not respond to repeated requests for comment on Wednesday. Sen. Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican, is a co-sponsor of the legislation.

The Senate Commerce Committee is scheduled to vote for March 24 on the Rockefeller bill, which will replace an existing measure known as S.773. Because Rockefeller is chairman of the committee, the bill is expected to be approved with little dissent.

Other portions of the 62-page draft bill would create certification requirements for “critical infrastructure information system personnel working in cybersecurity” and punish certain companies that “fail to demonstrate” that they comply with federal specifications. A third section would order the National Science Foundation to fund anti-anonymity research that aims to “to determine the origin of a message transmitted over the Internet.”

Liesyl Franz, vice president for information security at TechAmerica, one of the industry’s largest trade associations, said her group does not support the new version at this time and is still reviewing the language.

“We have to see whether that makes sense,” Franz said, referring to the licensing and certification sections. “We’ve often talked about how companies and industries are very different.”

Franz added: “Frankly, we’d rather not see a prescriptive plan. Seeing a process for developing a plan to get to a goal is a little bit more palatable for the industry.”

The revised Rockefeller bill, called the Cybersecurity Act of 2010, does stress that the White House should develop its cyber-emergency plan “in collaboration” with the private sector. It also says “this section does not authorize…an expansion of existing presidential authorities.”

Declan McCullagh is a contributor to CNET News and a correspondent for who has covered the intersection of politics and technology for over a decade. Declan writes a regular feature called Taking Liberties, focused on individual and economic rights; you can bookmark his CBS News Taking Liberties site, or subscribe to the RSS feed. You can e-mail Declan at

March 18, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | 2 Comments

Video: From Greece with Love-Yperastikoi

a song for Palestine
written by Yperastikoi
for “A ship to Gaza” mission

special thanks to ISM/Gaza Strip

March 18, 2010 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Video, War Crimes | Comments Off on Video: From Greece with Love-Yperastikoi


Book Review By Sam Bahour | March 18, 2010

Zionism’s Invented State

Israeli Exceptionalism: The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism arrived in the mail shortly after I completed sending a thank you note to two other authors and friends, Kathleen and Bill Christison.  The Christison’s had just released their newest title, Palestine in Pieces: Graphic Perspectives on the Israeli Occupation (Pluto Press) and I felt that they deserved a huge thank you for encapsulating their eyewitness report of Israeli military dispossession and occupation in the warped ideological framework of Zionism.  I felt such a framing depicted a high sense of rarely found political maturity on behalf of American analysts.  Israeli Exceptionalism was a natural next read for it peeled the onion of Zionism to reveal how deeply flawed this ideology was and is and how it has become a destabilizing factor which puts people of the region—and arguably beyond—in serious jeopardy.

Israeli Exceptionalism is not only a must read, it is a must think about book.  To add intellectual spice, every chapter starts with a few quotes of prominent individuals related to the topic at hand.  Reading these quotes alone speak volumes of the human tragedy, in thought and lives, that Zionism evoked.

Author M. Shahid Alam, a non-Arab, professor of economics at Northeastern University in Boston does a fascinating job of creating a repository of references on Zionism by way of narrative and footnotes.  Although I think of myself as well-read on the topic, I attest that I learned much from Israeli Exceptionalism, not only in terms of identifying new references, but also in terms of analysis and context.

It was not the first time I have read the word “exceptionalism” in relation to Israel. New York Times columnist Roger Cohen recently wrote that Israel “lives in a perpetual state of exceptionalism.” (New York Times, Oct. 16, 2009).  However, Professor Alam explored this Israeli phenomenon on a deeper level of its underlying ideology to shed light on why this abnormal state seems to be unable to come to terms with modern day realities.  The book addresses three principal forms of Israeli exceptionalism: 1) the “divine right” of Jews, 2) “Israeli achievements,” which at first glance seem impressive, and 3) the Jews’ “uniquely tragic history.”  Alam explains that, “In order to secure itself against these “unique” threats to its existence, Israel claims exemption from the demands of international laws.”  Sadly, so long as Israel resists permitting international law to be its reference point, despite the fact that Israel’s own birth is owed to the same body of law, the only alternative Israel allows for is the age-old Law of the Jungle—the law of might is right.

Throughout the book the author uses a new term, “Islamicate,” which this writer, a secular Palestinian, found a sober source of food for thought, especially given the state of global and regional affairs today.  As a foil for his historical review of the development of Zionism, its trials and tribulations, and the existence of Israel, the author gives us the Islmicate—the Muslim world, or the “Islamic heartland”—which forces the reader to see the larger context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  Given the events of 9/11 and all that proceeded it, including the shift from a Cold War paradigm to a War on Terror one, this backdrop is a key framing for the analysis.  However, the author speaks at some length of the Arab nationalist movement which unsuccessfully attempted to face off with Israel, but skips the depth of the secular Palestinian national movement that broke away from official Arab nationalism leadership and kept the Palestinian struggle for freedom and impendence alive all these years, albeit under threat today from an Islamist trend in the region.  That noted, Alam is correct when he ended the book by saying, “The Islamicate world today is not what it was during World War I. It is noticeably less inclined to let foreigners draw their maps for them.”

The thesis of the book is that “The Zionist movement in Palestine has generated endemic violence between Jewish settlers and Palestinians.  Since 1948, this violence has repeatedly pitted Israel against the Palestinians and its neighbors. It has dragged Western societies, especially the United States, into ever widening and deepening conflicts with the Islamicate.” Professor Alam argues that “the history of these ever-expanding circles of conflict and instability was contained in the Zionist idea itself.”

This approach to understanding Zionism and Israel —the notion that an all-encompassing plan has and is guiding Israel—is a constant source of debate between myself and many Israeli friends.  I argue that a macro plan, one that has a guiding thrust to force the realization of the original Zionist myth that Palestine was a “land with no people for a people with no land” is in place and motivating many on the Israeli side.  Many Israelis argue that this notion gives too much credit to their society and leadership and contend that minimal planning, chance, luck, and near total haphazardness have brought them to their precarious state of affairs.  After a careful reading of Israeli Exceptionalism I tend to believe that the truth is somewhere in the middle.  Like the founders of Zionism, Israel’s current leadership is too politically savvy to try and micromanage the future.  Instead it provides an overall framework and lets its constantly adapting organizations—the World Zionist Organization, then Israel—deal with the required, real-time maneuvering based on the ever-changing realities and interests of the moment.

Professor Alam carefully follows the intertwining interrelationships among many seemingly disparate movements that have, collectively, driven the State of Israel—the exclusionist ideology of Zionism, interests of shifting global powers, anti-Semitism, Christian Zionism, Jewish Diaspora, the Israeli lobby, and the clout ascertained by serving the short term political interests of individual western leaders.  Although the text is heavily footnoted, the author’s many insights prompt the reader to want to learn more and corroborate some of the information provided: particularly in the chapter devoted to “Jewish Factors in Zionist Success,” for example, where the author’s historical portrayal of Jewish influence in the service of Zionism/Israel around the world suggests much more of a monolithic dynamic among these communities than I tend to find plausible.  For example, and Alam also makes mention of this aspect of Jewish Diaspora: “Jews of 19th century Germany founded the Reform movement, rejecting the idea of a Jewish nation … The Reform movement of those days was a compromise between total apostasy (assimilation) and orthodoxy.” (Ami Isseroff, Opposition of Reform Judaism to Zionism – A History, August 12, 2005).  Given such strong trends within world Jewry that opposed Zionism for considerable periods in the movement’s history, Alam’s monolithic view seems tendentious. I would claim that superior organization and dynamic leadership among committed Zionists is what led to the “success” of Zionism, more so than any natural Jewish leaning toward a desire for an exclusionist state, with all that that means for others. A significant minority of Jews alive today in fact continue to oppose Zionism on the grounds that it is very “un-Jewish.”

Meantime, the book chronicles the emergence of an influential trend of Jewish-only exceptionalism long before the horrific misery of Jews after WWII, and as a matter of fact, even before the recognized founder of Zionism, Theodore Herzl, wrote The Jewish State (a book I re-read annually.)  However, Alam correctly notes that “Israel’s creation and survival are anomalies” and that, after nearly 100 years of Zionist/Israeli exclusionism evinced in a policy of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, “It would appear that Israel’s demographic constraints are binding: and these constraints may well determine the ultimate destiny of this exclusionary colonialism.”  “The tragedy of Zionism,” proclaims Alam, “is written into its design; its end is contained in its beginning.”  That may be true for many –isms of this world, some which have already collapsed of their own weight.

A Zionist friend and writer, Bernard Avishai, recently wrote in his latest book, “Israel is a society where institutional discrimination against individuals for an accident of birth or a profession of faith has been so routine it is hardly noticed—not, at least, by Jews.” (The Hebrew Republic, Harcourt, pg. 25).  Another Zionist, albeit of a completely different school of thought, Israel’s current Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak, was quoted earlier this month as saying “If, and as long as between the Jordan and the sea, there is only one political entity, named Israel, it will end up being either non-Jewish or non-democratic … If the Palestinians vote in elections, it is a binational state, and if they don’t, it is an apartheid state.”  These words coming from across the Zionist spectrum should not be taken lightly.  Remember: apartheid is a crime against humanity!

Professor Alam states that “at first, Zionists did not seek to conceal the colonial character of their movement…concealment was not necessary in the age of high imperialism and triumphant racism.”  The United Nations General Assembly Resolution 3379, adopted on November 10, 1975 by a vote of 72 to 35 (with 32 abstentions), “determine[d] that Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination”. The resolution was revoked by Resolution 46/86 on December 16, 1991. In the history of the UN, this is the only resolution that has ever been revoked.  As a Palestinian experiencing the real-time impact of the racialist policies of a Zionist-motivated Israeli state, I believe that revoking this resolution was a mistake because it only postponed the inevitable day of reckoning when Israel would have to look at itself in the mirror and accept what it found there as real.  Reading Israeli Exceptionalism can help us to understand how such historical oddities evolve.

Another Israeli friend, Deb Reich, a non-Zionist but someone who has lived—sometimes painfully—the Zionist reality, expressed it rather succinctly when I asked her about Zionism. She said, “I have come to believe that lecturing people about their badness is the last thing on earth that can solve our problems and will rarely change their behavior one iota; in fact, it can make them more stubborn. I know that we have no choice but to try to hold people accountable for their actions in terms of both the intended and unintended consequences for others, because without accountability there is chaos; but at the same time, if we want positive change, then we MUST open a window for people on how they can redeem themselves, and redeem the situation.  That endeavor is what leadership is supposed to be about.”

Understanding history is one thing, but being able to come to terms with it and survive it is something materially different:, just ask Palestinians living today.  Is turning back the clock of history doable or even desirable today?  Left to the tools of our day—international law, compensation, and hopefully reconciliation—will history correct itself in the future with the emergence of smarter generations of Israelis and Palestinians?  Can we Palestinians survive as a people to see that day?  These are questions we ponder daily while under the influence of Israeli occupation and dispossession.

Professor Alam believes that the tide of Zionism will begin to turn when the banana republics of the Middle East begin to fall and are “replaced by Islamist governments” at which time “it may become difficult for the United States to maintain its presence in the region.”  I beg for the international community to uphold their obligations under international law and resolve this conflict before that day.

Israeli Exceptionalism : The Destabilizing Logic of Zionism
by M. Shahid Alam
Palgrave Macmillan, 272 pp., £55.00

March 18, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | Comments Off on THE DESTABILIZING LOGIC OF ZIONISM

Jeffrey Goldberg: Pundit for Israel

diyadaisy — March 19, 2007 — 4-minute video about media pundit and New Yorker staff writer Jeffrey Goldberg.

March 18, 2010 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, Video | 2 Comments

Why protest building a synagogue and an action alert

Mazin Qumsiyeh | Window Into Palestine | March 18, 2010

The Hurva synagogue was destroyed in the 1948 war by the Jordanian army.  Before 1948, synagogues were used by Zionist underground forces for illicit activities including hording weapons.*  But why is there a furor over building it again?

First we must recognize that International law is rather clear that East Jerusalem is illegally occupied by Israel and per the Geneva conventions, and buildings or activities in the occupied areas are subject to those conventions.  Any transfer of population to the occupied areas including infrastructure for these individuals is considered proscribed settlement activity contrary to both the letter and the spirit of the law.

Second, Israel News reported that: “According to a centuries-old rabbinical prophecy that appears to be coming true, on March 16, 2010, Israel will begin construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem.  During the 18th century, the Vilna Gaon, a respected rabbinical authority, prophesied that the Hurva Synagogue in Jerusalem, which was built during his day, would be destroyed and rebuilt twice, and that when the Hurva was completed for the third time, construction on the Third Temple would begin”  Many Israelis believe this and there is a proliferation of designs, ceremonies and other events to launch this coming age of building a third temple. There are Muslim religious sites there: the first Qibla or direction of prayer for Islam and the third holiest site are the Haram Al-Sharif on this site.  There are Israeli digs underneath that threaten the site already and this only added fuel to the fire.

Third, Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, and much of humanity, wonder why is it that such a synagogue is reconstructed but none of 1200 mosques and nearly 200 churches destroyed by Israel over the past 6 decades not allowed to be reconstructed? For me personally and for most Palestinains, we know the history shows Jews, Christians, and Muslims living peacefully together for 1400 years under Islamic rule (with very few exceptions).  We know that it is possible to simply have a Jewish area, a Christian area, a Muslim area or even mixed areas.  We know it is possible even to intermarry, have friendships, etc.  But Zionism had a different idea and it did not revolve on coexisting but on ethnic cleansing and destruction of others.  How else can we explain the destruction of 530 villages and towns? How can we explain the rapid growth of colonial settlements on Palestinian land or even inside Palestinian homes? There is surely enough space here for all.  Why are Palestinians denied the right to go to school just this week (see story and picture where they even held school at the checkpoint). Why not simply live and let live.  The density of population inside the Green line is now nearly 1/8th that of areas of the West Bank and Gaza that are designated reservations/ghettos for the native Palestinians. If Jews want to live in the old Jewish quarter of East Jerusalem and rebuild the synagogue there, why not allow the Palestinians to return to the old neighborhoods in West Jerusalem and rebuild the many churches and mosques there?

AIPAC issued a statement supporting Vice President Biden who claimed that there is no space between the US and Israel.  In other words, the US and Israeli interests and policies are/must be one and the same including on starvation, oppression, colonization etc.  (and oh yes, we have to always put Iran first now that we finished off Iraq for the sake of Israel). US General David Petreaus disagrees:

“Insufficient progress toward a comprehensive Middle East peace. The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests in the AOR. Israeli-Palestinian tensions often flare into violence and large-scale armed confrontations. The conflict foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the AOR and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support. The conflict also gives Iran influence in the Arab world through its clients, Lebanese Hizballah and Hamas.”

I would go much further and say the US interests and treasury have already been crippled by the subserviant relationship to Israeli lobbies.  If the lobby finally succeeds in deepening the conflict with Iran, it will not be Iran that loses, but US and Israel will suffer a horrible blow.  The US economy would go into a tail spin and the value of the $3 billion dollars in US military aid to Israel will be reduced even further as the US dollar accelerates its decline.


AIPAC and Christian Zionists are mobilizing thousands to write the congress and white house to keep funding and supporting Israel in its policies of colonial settlement expansion.  We can do no less write to the white house via and to congress via

*This was common practice for the Haganah and other forces to fire from synagogues and use them as military outposts, see’WATCH:%20British%20Mandate-era%20arms%20cache%20found%20in%20Hod%20Hasharon%20synagogue’&dyn_server=

Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhDPopular Committee to to Resist the Wall and Settlements-Beit Sahour

A Bedouin in Cyberspace, a villager at home

March 18, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | Comments Off on Why protest building a synagogue and an action alert