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Why Condemning Israel and the Zionist Lobby is so Important

By James Petras | Atlantic Free Press | December 25, 2006

“It’s no great secret why the Jewish agencies continue to trumpet support for the discredited policies of this failed administration. They see defense of Israel as their number-one goal, trumping all other items on the agenda. That single-mindedness binds them ever closer to a White House that has made combating Islamic terrorism its signature campaign. The campaign’s effects on the world have been catastrophic. But that is no concern of the Jewish agencies.” – December 8, 2006 statement by JJ Goldberg, editor of Forward (the leading Jewish weekly in the United States)

Introduction

Many Jewish writers, including those who are somewhat critical of Israel, have raised pointed questions about our critique of the Zionist power configuration (ZPC) in the United States and what they wrongly claim to be our singular harsh critique of the state of Israel. Some of these accusers claim to see signs of ‘latent anti-Semitism’, others, of a more ‘leftist’ coloration, deny the influential role of the ZPC arguing that US foreign policy is a product of ‘geo-politics or the interests of big oil. With the recent publication of several widely circulated texts, highly critical of the power of the Zionist ‘lobby’, several liberal pro-Israel publicists generously conceded that it is a topic that should be debated (and not automatically stigmatized and dismissed) and perhaps be ‘taken into account.’

ZPC Deniers: Phony Arguments for Fake Claims

The main claims of ZPC deniers take several tacks: Some claim that the ZPC is just ‘another lobby’ like the Chamber of Commerce, the Sierra Club or the Society for the Protection of Goldfish. Others claim that by focusing mainly on Israel and by inference the ‘Lobby’, the critics of Zionism ignore the equally violent abuses of rulers, regimes and states elsewhere. This ‘exclusive focus’ on Israel, the deniers of ZPC argue, reveals a latent or overt anti-Semitism. They propose that human rights advocates condemn all human rights abusers everywhere (at the same time and with the same emphasis?).

Others still argue that Israel is a democracy – at least outside of the Occupied Territories (OT) – and therefore is not as condemnable as other human rights violators and should be ‘credited’ for its civic virtues along with its human rights failings. Finally others still claim that, because of the Holocaust and ‘History-of-Two-Thousand-Years-of-Persecution’, criticism of Jewish-funded and led pro-Israel lobbies should be handled with great prudence, making it clear that one criticizes only specific abuses, investigates all charges – especially those from Arab/Palestinian/United Nations/European/Human Rights sources — and recognizes that Israeli public opinion, the press and even the Courts or sectors of them may also be critical of regime policies.

These objections to treating the Israeli-Palestinian-Arab conflict and the activities of Zionist Lobbies as central to peace and war serve to dilute, dissipate and deflate criticism and organized political activity directed at the ZPC and its directors in Israel.

The response of the critics of Israel and the ZPC to these attacks has been weak at best and cowardly at worst. Some critics have responded that their criticism is only directed toward a specific policy or leader, or to Israeli policies in the OT and that they recognize Israel is a democracy, that it requires secure borders, and that it is in the interests of the Israeli ‘people’ to lower their security barriers. Others argue that their criticism is directed at securing Israeli interests, influencing the Zionist Lobby or to opening a debate. They claim that the views of ‘most’ Jews’ in the US are not represented by the 52 organizations that make up the Presidents of the Major Jewish Organizations of America, or the thousands of PACs, local federations, professional associations and weekly publications which speak with one voice as unconditional supporters of every twist and turn in the policy of the Zionist State.

There are numerous similar lines of criticism, which basically avoid the fundamental issues raised by the Israeli state and the ZPC, and which we are obliged to address. The reason that criticism and action directed against Israel and the ZPC is of central importance today in any discussion of US foreign policy, especially (but not exclusively) of Middle East policy and US domestic policy-making is that they play a decisive role and have a world-historic impact on the present and future of world peace and social justice. We turn now to examine the ‘big questions’ facing Americans as a result of the power of Israel in the United States.

The Big Questions Raised by the ZPC and Israeli Power in the USA:

War or Peace

Critical study of the lead up to the US invasion of Iraq, US involvement in providing arms to Israel (cluster bombs, two-ton bunker buster bombs and satellite surveillance intelligence) prior to, during and after Israel’s abortive invasion of Lebanon, Washington’s backing of the starvation blockade of the Palestinian people and the White House and Congress’ demands for sanctions and war against Iran are directly linked to Israeli state policy and its Zionist policy-makers in the Executive branch and US Congress. One needs to look no further than the documents, testimony and reports of AIPAC and the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations to observe their claims of success in authoring legislation, providing (falsified) intelligence, engaging in espionage (AIPAC) and turning documents over to Israeli intelligence (now dubbed ‘free speech’ by liberal Zionists).

If, as the overwhelming evidence indicates, the ZPC played a major role in the major wars of our time, wars capable of igniting new armed conflicts, then it ill behooves us to dilute the role of the Zionist/Jewish Lobby in promoting future US wars. Given Israel’s militarist-theocratic approach to territorial aggrandizement and its announced plans for future wars with Iran and Syria, and given the fact that the ZPC acts as an unquestioning and highly disciplined transmission belt for the Israeli state, then US citizens opposed to present and future US engagement in Middle East wars must confront the ZPC and its Israeli mentors. Moreover, given the extended links among the Islamic nations, the Israel/ZPC proposed ‘new wars’ with Iran will result in Global wars. Hence what is at stake in confronting the ZPC are questions which go beyond the Israeli-Palestine peace process, or even regional Middle East conflicts: it involves the big question of World Peace or War.

Democracy or Authoritarianism

Without the bluster and public hearings of former Senator Joseph McCarthy, the Jewish Lobby has systematically undermined the principal pillars of our fragile democracy. While the US Congress, media, academics, retired military and public figures are free to criticize the President, any criticism of Israel, much less the Jewish Lobby, is met with vicious attacks in all the op-ed pages of major newspapers by an army of pro-Israeli ‘expert’ propagandists, demands for firings, purges and expulsions of the critics from their positions or denial of promotions or new appointments. In the face of any prominent critic calling into question the Lobby’s role in shaping US policy to suit Israel’s interests, the entire apparatus (from local Jewish federations, AIPAC, the Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations etc) go into action – smearing, insulting and stigmatizing the critics as ‘anti-Semites’. By denying free speech and public debate through campaigns of calumny and real and threatened repercussions the Jewish Lobby has denied Americans one of their more basic freedoms and constitutional rights.

The massive, sustained and well-financed hate campaigns directed at any congressional candidate critical of Israel effectively eliminates free speech among the political elite. The overwhelming influence of wealthy Jewish contributors to both parties – but especially the Democrats – results in the effective screening out of any candidate who might question any part of the Lobby’s Israel agenda. The takeover of Democratic campaign finance by two ultra-Zionist zealots, Senator Charles Schumer and Israeli-American Congressman Rahm Emanuel ensured that every candidate was totally subordinated to the Lobby’s unconditional support of Israel. The result is that there is no Congressional debate, let alone investigation, over the key role of prominent Zionists in the Pentagon involved in fabricating reports on Iraq’s ‘weapons of mass destruction’, and in designing and executing the war and the disastrous occupation policy. The Lobby’s ideologues posing as Middle East ‘experts’ dominate the op-ed and editorial pages of all the major newspapers (Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post). In their pose as Middle East experts, they propagandize the Israeli line on the major television networks (CBS, NBC,ABC, Fox, and CNN) and their radio affiliates. The Lobby has played a prominent role in supporting and implementing highly repressive legislation like the Patriot Act and the Military Commission Act as well as modifying anti-corruption legislation to allow the Lobby to finance congressional ‘educational’ junkets to Israel. The head of Homeland Security with its over 150,000 functionaries and multi-billion dollar budget is none other than Zionist fanatic Michael Chertoff, head persecutor of Islamic charity organizations, Palestinian relief organizations and other ethnic Middle Eastern or Moslem constituencies in the US, which potentially might challenge the Lobby’s pro-Israel agenda.

The biggest threat to democracy in its fullest sense of the word – the right to debate, to elect, to legislate free of coercion – is found in the organized efforts of the Zionist lobby, to repress public debate, control candidate selection and campaigning, direct repressive legislation and security agencies against electoral constituencies opposing the Lobby’s agenda for Israel. No other lobby or political action group has as much sustained and direct influence over the political process – including the media, congressional debate and voting, candidate selection and financing of congressional allocation of foreign aid and Middle East agendas as the organized Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) and its indirect spokespeople heading key Congressional positions. A first step toward reversing the erosion of our democratic freedoms is recognizing and publicly exposing the ZPC’s nefarious organizational and financial activities and moving forward toward neutralizing their efforts.

Their Foreign Policy or Ours?

Intimately and directly related to the loss of democratic freedoms and a direct consequence of the Jewish lobby’s influence over the political process is the making of US Middle East policy and who benefits from it. The entire political effort of the Lobby (its spending, ethnic baiting, censorship and travel junkets) is directed toward controlling US foreign policy and, through US power, to influence the policy of US allies, clients and adversaries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The Lobby’s systematic curtailment of our democratic freedoms is intimately related to our own inability to influence our nation’s foreign policy. Our majoritarian position against the Iraq War, the repudiation of the main executioner of the War (the White House) and our horror in the face of the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and destruction of Gaza are totally neutralized by Zionist influence over Congressional and White House policymakers. The recently victorious Congressional Democrats repudiate their electorate and follow the advice and dictates of the pro-Zionist leadership (Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Rahm Emmanuel, Stephan Israel and others) by backing an escalation of troops and an increase in military spending for the war in Iraq. Bush follows the war policy against Iran proposed by the zealous Zionist fanatics in the American Enterprise Institute, repudiating the diplomatic proposals of the bi-partisan Baker Commission. Congress quadruples US arms stored in Israel (supposedly for dual use) in the aftermath of Israel’s bombing of Southern Lebanon with one million anti-personnel bomblets from cluster bombs in direct defiance of US electoral opinion. While hundreds of millions of undernourished women and children suffer and die in Africa, Latin America and Asia, the Lobby ensures that over half of US foreign aid goes to Israeli Jews with per capita incomes of over $22,000 USD.

No other organized political action group or public relations firm acting on behalf of the Cuban and Venezuelan exiles or Arab, African, Chinese or European Union states comes remotely near the influence of the Zionist lobby in shaping US policy to serve the interest of Israel.

While the Lobby speaks for less than 2% of the US electorate, its influence on foreign policy far exceeds the great majority who have neither comparable organizational nor financial muscle to impose their views.

Never in the history of the US republic or empire has a powerful but tiny minority been able to wield so much influence in using our nation’s military and economic power and diplomatic arm-twisting in the service of a foreign government. Neither the Francophiles during the American Revolution, the Anglophiles in the Civil War and the German Bund in the run-up to World War Two, nor the (anti-China) Nationalist Taiwan Lobby possessed the organizational power and sustained political influence that the ZPC has on US foreign and domestic policy at the service of the State of Israel.

Confronting the Lobby Matters

The question of the power of the Lobby over US policies of war or peace, authoritarianism or democracy and over who defines the interests served by US foreign policy obviously go far beyond the politics of the Middle East, the Israeli-colonial land grabs in Palestine and even the savage occupation of Iraq. The playing out of Zionist influence over the greatest military power in the world, with the most far-reaching set of client states, military bases, deadly weapons and decisive voice in international bodies (IMF/World Bank/United Nations Security Council) means that the Lobby has a means to leverage its reach in most regions of the world. This leverage power extends over a range of issues, from defending the fortunes of murderous Russian-Jewish gangster oligarchs, to bludgeoning European allies of the US to complicity with Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

The ZPC represents a basic threat to our existence as a sovereign state and our ability to influence whom we elect and what agendas and interests our representatives will pursue. Even worse, by serving Israeli interests, we are becoming complicit with a State whose Supreme Court legalizes political assassinations across national boundaries, torture, systematic violations of international law and a regime which repudiates United Nations resolutions and unilaterally invades and bombs its neighbors and practices military colonist expansionism. In a word Israel resonates and feeds into the most retrograde tendencies and brutal practices of contemporary American politics. In this sense the Lobby through its media, Congressional influence and think tanks is creating an Israeli look-alike. Like Israel, the US has established its own Pentagon assassination teams; like Israel, it invades and colonizes Iraq; like Israel, it violates and rejects any constitutional or international legal restraints and systematically tortures accused but untried prisoners.

Because of these fundamental considerations, we cannot oblige our Jewish ‘progressive’ colleagues and compatriots and refrain from confronting the Zionist Lobby with force and urgency. Too many of our freedoms are at stake; too little time is left before they succeed in securing a greater military escalation; too little of our sovereignty remains in the face of the concerted effort by the Lobby and its Middle Eastern ‘expert-ideologues’ to push and shove us into a new and more devastating war with Iran at the behest of Israel’s pursuit of Middle East dominance.

No other country, abuser or not of human rights, with or without electoral systems, has the influence over our domestic and foreign policy as does the state of Israel. No other Lobby has the kind of financial power and organizational reach as the Jewish Lobby in eroding our domestic political freedoms or our war-making powers. For those reasons alone, it stands to reason, that we Americans have a necessity to put our fight against Israel and its Lobby at the very top of our political agenda. It is not because Israel has the worst human rights agenda in the world – other states have even worst democratic credentials – but because of its role in promoting its US supporters to degrade our democratic principles, robbing us of our freedom to debate and our sovereignty to decide our own interests. The Lobby puts the military and budgetary resources of the Empire at the service of Greater Israel – and that results in the worst human rights in the world.

Democratic, just and peaceful responses to the Big Questions that face Americans, Europeans, Muslims, Jews and other peoples of the world passes through the defeat and dismantlement of the Israeli-directed Zionist Power Configuration in America. Nothing less will allow us to engage in an open debate on the alternatives to repression at home and imperialism abroad.

August 17, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | 3 Comments

Israel should not keep its history behind lock and key

By Jonathan Cook | The National | August 17, 2010

History may be written by the victors, as Winston Churchill is said to have observed, but the opening up of archives can threaten a nation every bit as much as the unearthing of mass graves.

That danger explains a decision quietly taken last month by Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, to extend by an additional 20 years the country’s 50-year rule for the release of sensitive documents.

The new 70-year disclosure rule is the government’s response to Israeli journalists who have been seeking through Israel’s courts to gain access to documents that should already be declassified, especially those concerning the 1948 war, which established Israel, and the 1956 Suez crisis.

The state’s chief archivist says many of the documents “are not fit for public viewing” and raise doubts about Israel’s “adherence to international law”, while the government warns that greater transparency will “damage foreign relations”.

Quite what such phrases mean was illustrated by the findings of a recent investigation by an Israeli newspaper. Haaretz revisited the Six Day War of 1967, in which Israel seized not only the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and Gaza, but also a significant corner of Syria known as the Golan Heights, which Israel still refuses to relinquish.

The consensus in Israel is that the country’s right to hold on to the Golan is even stronger than its right to the West Bank. According to polls, an overwhelming majority of Israelis refuse to concede their little bit of annexed Syria, even if doing so would secure peace with Damascus.

This intransigence is not surprising. For decades, Israelis have been taught a grand narrative in which, having repelled an attack by Syrian forces, Israel then magnanimously allowed the civilian population of the Golan to live under its rule. That, say Israelis, is why the inhabitants of four Druze villages are still present there. The rest chose to leave on the instructions of Damascus.

One influential journalist writing at the time even insinuated anti-Semitism on the part of the civilians who departed: “Everyone fled, to the last man, before the IDF [Israel Defence Forces] arrived, out of fear of the ‘savage conqueror’ … Fools, why did they have to flee?”

However, a very different picture emerges from Haaretz’s interviews with the participants. These insiders say that all but 6,000 of the Golan’s 130,000 civilians were either terrorised or physically forced out, some of them long after the fighting finished. An army document reveals a plan to clear the area of the Syrian population, with only the exception of the Golan Druze, so as not to upset relations with the loyal Druze community inside Israel.

The army’s post-war tasks included flushing out thousands of farmers hiding in caves and woods to send them over the new border. Homes were looted before the army set about destroying all traces of 200 villages so that there would be nowhere left for the former inhabitants to return to. The first Jewish settlers sent to till the fields recalled seeing the dispossessed owners watching from afar.

The Haaretz investigation offers an account of methodical and wholesale ethnic cleansing that sits uncomfortably not only with the traditional Israeli story of 1967 but with the Israeli public’s idea that their army is the “most moral in the world”. That may explain why several prominent, though unnamed, Israeli historians admitted to Haaretz that they had learnt of this “alternative narrative” but did nothing to investigate or publicise it.

What is so intriguing about the newspaper’s version of the Golan’s capture is the degree to which it echoes the revised accounts of the 1948 war that have been written by later generations of Israeli historians. Three decades ago – in a more complacent era – Israel made available less sensitive documents from that period.

The new material was explosive enough. It undermined Israel’s traditional narrative of 1948, in which the Palestinians were said to have left voluntarily on the orders of the Arab leaders and in the expectation that the combined Arab armies would snuff out the fledging Jewish state in a bloodbath.

Instead, the documents suggested that heavily armed Jewish forces had expelled and dispossessed hundreds of thousands of Palestinians before the Jewish state had even been declared and a single Arab soldier had entered Palestine.

One document in particular, Plan Dalet, demonstrated the army’s intention to expel the Palestinians from their homeland. Its existence explains the ethnic cleansing of more than 80 per cent of Palestinians in the war, followed by a military campaign to destroy hundreds of villages to ensure the refugees never returned.

Ethnic cleansing is the common theme of both these Israeli conquests. A deeper probe of the archives will almost certainly reveal in greater detail how and why these “cleansing” campaigns were carried out – which is precisely why Mr Netanyahu and others want the archives to remain locked.

But full disclosure of these myth-shattering documents may be the precondition for peace. Certainly, more of these revelations offer the best hope of shocking Israeli public opinion out of its self-righteous opposition to meaningful concessions, either to Syria or the Palestinians.

It is also a necessary first step in challenging Israel’s continuing attempts to ethnically cleanse Palestinians, as has occurred in the last few weeks against the Bedouin in both the Jordan Valley and the Negev, where villages are being razed and families forced to leave again.

Genuine peacemakers should be demanding that the doors to the archives be thrown open immediately. The motives of those who wish to keep them locked should be clear to all.

Jonathan Cook is The National’s correspondent in Nazareth. His latest book is Disappearing Palestine



August 17, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 4 Comments

New Zealand’s NIWA sued over climate data adjustments

August 16, 2010 by Anthony Watts

NIWA is being sued by the NZ Climate Coalition, mainly due to the differences in data in this graph:

Niwa sued over data accuracy

The country’s state-owned weather and atmospheric research body is being taken to court in a challenge over the accuracy of its data used to calculate global warming.

The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition said it had lodged papers with the High Court asking the court to invalidate the official temperatures record of the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa).

The lobby of climate sceptics and ACT Party have long criticised Niwa over its temperature data, which Niwa says is mainstream science and not controversial, and the raw data publicly available.

The coalition said the New Zealand Temperature Records (NZTR) were the historical base of NIWA’s advice to the Government on issues relating to climate change.

Coalition spokesman Bryan Leyland said many scientists believed although the earth had been warming for 150 years, it had not heated as much as Government archives claimed.

He said the New Zealand Meteorological Service had shown no warming during the past century but Niwa had adjusted its records to show a warming trend of 1degC. The warming figure was high and almost 50 percent above the global average, said Mr Leyland.

”Twentieth-century temperature records are now being challenged all around the world” said Bryan Leyland, spokesman for the NZCSET. “But I think we are the first country where the issues are to be placed squarely before an independent judicial forum.”
“Many scientists believe that, although the earth has been in a natural warming phase for the past 150 years, it has not heated as much as Government archives claim. The precise trend figure is extremely important, as it forms the sole basis of the claim that human activities are the dominant cause of the warming.

“The New Zealand Met Service record shows no warming during the last century, but NIWA has adopted a series of invariably downward adjustments in the period prior to World War 2. Because these move the old temperature records downwards, the 7SS NZTR shows a huge bounce-back of over 1°C in the first half of the century” said Mr. Leyland. “Although this is out of line with dozens of other records, and has been the subject of sustained questioning by both the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition and the ACT party, NIWA refuses to accept that there are serious problems with the adjustments. In fact, no one has been able to explain exactly how they were arrived at.”

The Court proceedings also allege bias and unethical conduct on the part of NIWA’s National Climate Centre. These are based partly on NIWA allegedly delegating the NZTR decision to a former employee, James Salinger, knowing that he had a vested interest in an untested theory put forward in his own 1981 thesis. NIWA also knew that the data and calculations for that theory had been lost, and, thus could not be replicated.

The Court will be asked to rule that NIWA has refused to repudiate the current NZTR in order to avoid political embarrassment, and feared loss of public confidence in the objectivity of its scientists. The proceedings were filed and served this week, and NIWA has up to a month to respond.

Full story here:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/4026330/Niwa-sued-over-data-accuracy

August 17, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | Comments Off on New Zealand’s NIWA sued over climate data adjustments

No Room for Arab Students at Israeli Universities

New Rules Favor Former Soldiers
By Jonathan Cook – August 17th, 2010

Measures designed to benefit Jewish school-leavers applying for places in Israeli higher education at the cost of their Arab counterparts have been criticised by lawyers and human rights groups.

The new initiatives are viewed as part of an ongoing drive by right-wing politicians in Israel to demand “loyalty” from the country’s large minority population of Arab citizens.

Critics have termed the measures, including a programme to provide financial aid exclusively to students who have served in the Israeli army, a form of “covert discrimination”.

While most Jews are conscripted into the military, Israel’s Arab citizens are generally barred from serving.

The issue came to a head last week over reports that Tel Aviv University had reserved a large number of dormitory places for discharged soldiers, leaving Arab students facing a severe shortage of university accommodation in the coming academic year.

In addition, only former soldiers will be eligible in future for large subsidies on tuition fees under an amended law passed last month.

Arab students already face many obstacles to pursuing higher education, according to the Dirasat policy research centre in Nazareth. These include psychometric exams — a combined aptitude and personality test that has been criticised as culturally biased — and minimum age restrictions for courses, typically at age 21, when soldiers finish their three-year service.

But Tel Aviv university’s decision has come under fire because it will put further pressure on Arab students to forgo higher education.

Most Arab families live far from Tel Aviv, with limited public transport connections. High poverty rates also mean few are able to afford private rooms for their children, and Arab students already complain that private landlords refuse to rent to them.

Although comprising only five per cent of the student body at Tel Aviv university, Arabs won about 40 per cent of dorm places last year, when rooms were awarded using social and economic criteria, said Mohammed Awadi, a Tel Aviv student leader.

“Now the university management has told us that most Arab students will be rejected because preference will be given to military service,” he said. “The message is that they would rather have a university without any Arabs at all.”

Yousef Jabareen, Dirasat’s director, said the university’s decision represented an increasingly hardline attitude from its officials. “What is so worrying is that a supposedly liberal academic institution — not the right-wing government — is promoting discrimination,” he said.

Yesterday, Joseph Klafter, the university’s president, was reported to be inspecting course reading lists for signs of what officials called “post-Zionist bias”, or criticism of Israel’s founding ideology.

Sawsan Zaher, a lawyer with Adalah, a legal centre in Haifa, said the new rules on subsidised tuition and student housing were part of the government’s “loyalty drive”, a programme of reforms that has been decried for creating an overtly hostile political climate towards the Arab minority.

The campaign has been spearheaded by the Yisrael Beitenu party of the foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, whose election slogan was “No loyalty, no citizenship”.

The use of military service as a criterion for awarding student housing was ruled discriminatory two years ago by Haifa district court. The government, however, quickly amended the law, allowing universities to change their rules, as Tel Aviv University has now done.

Haifa University, which has the largest Arab student population, also reserves dorm rooms for former soldiers.

Far-right leaders have suggested in the past that the Arab minority can be encouraged to emigrate by restricting access to higher education. Benny Elon, a former cabinet minister, notoriously summed up the policy as: “I will close the universities to you, I will make your lives difficult, until you want to leave.”

Last month the parliament approved a package of additional financial benefits to encourage former soldiers to study in “peripheral areas”, including three colleges in West Bank settlements.

Gush Shalom, an Israeli peace group, warned that the law would push Israel’s academic system “deeper into complicity with the occupation” and bolster the movement for an academic boycott of Israel.

Ms Zaher said the government appeared determined to push farther along the same path.

Last month a ministerial committee approved a draft bill that would allow private businesses to award extra benefits to former soldiers.

Although Arabs are a quarter of the college-age population, they comprise only eight per cent of the students attending Israeli universities.

A Dirasat survey last year showed that half of Arab students — about 5,400 — chose to study abroad, mainly in neighbouring Jordan, because of the difficulties they faced in Israel.

Ms Zaher said that introducing discriminatory measures at universities would exacerbate already stark socio-economic disparities in Israel. Poverty rates among Arab families are three times those of the Jewish population.

“Rather than trying to remedy the discrimination by investing extra budgets to help the Arab community, public and private institutions are being encouraged to widen the gaps,” she said.

Ms Zaher was due this week to send a letter to the Yehuda Weinstein, the attorney-general, calling for the government to stop tying basic rights to military service.

At Tel Aviv University, Arab students expressed concern about the new rules.

Rula Abu Hussein, a film studies student from Umm al-Fahm in northern Israel, said she had been told to vacate her dorm by October, when her second year begins.

“It’s really hard to find affordable private rooms in Tel Aviv for anyone but if you’re an Arab it’s especially difficult,” she said. “A lot of the landlords are racist and don’t want an Arab in their properties.”

Tel Aviv university was unavailable for comment.

Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel.

August 17, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 2 Comments

Court finds Israel responsible for girl’s shooting death

Ma’an – 17/08/2010

JERUSALEM — An Israeli court ruled Monday that the state was responsible for the fatal 2007 shooting of a 10-year-old Palestinian girl in a village near Jerusalem.

The court ruled that an Israeli border guard shot Abir Aramin in the head with a rubber bullet in Anata village north of Jerusalem, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported. Abir was buying sweets during a break from school with her sister and two friends when she was killed.

An army statement at the time said troops were responding to a riot in the village and “were forced to respond with methods for dispersing protesters.” The army has never accepted responsibility for the killing.

Ruling the shooting “totally unjustifiable,” the court found that Abir and her friends were walking down a street from which no stones were thrown, and “there was no apparent reason to fire in that direction,” Haaretz reported.

Judge Orit Efal Gabai ordered the government to pay damages to the family.

The civil suit was brought to the Jerusalem District Court after the army and state refused to open a criminal investigation into the killing. An appeal to the High Court to force an investigation was rejected in October 2009, when Judge Beinish ruled that Abir may have been killed by stones thrown by Palestinian protesters.

Judge Orit Efal Gabai said Monday that “There is no debate over the conclusion that Abir was injured by a rubber bullet shot by border guards, which in turn leads to the conclusion that the shooting of Abir occurred out of negligence, or in violation of the rules of engagement,” Haaretz reported.

Abir’s father is a founding member of Combatants for Peace, a joint Israeli-Palestinian peace group.

August 17, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | 2 Comments

A Beautiful Gift from the BBC

By Ken O’Keefe | Pulse Media | August 17, 2010

If you haven’t seen it, look for BBC Panorama’s “Death in the Med” program online (Part One, Part Two), you will be treated to first class propaganda as only the BBC can deliver.

I am one of the passengers/witnesses interviewed for this program and I am very much aware of BBC’s role in justifying war and covering up Israeli crimes. I am in no way naive about this; to the contrary my motivation for the interview lay largely in the all too likely opportunity to expose the BBC. A relevant job considering the BBC’s role in the slaughter of over one million Iraqi’s, a direct role by virtue of the war they justified. BBC from start to present, justifying Iraq, a massive war crime and crime against humanity based entirely on lies (propagated intensely by the BBC). The British Broadcasting Corporation, synonymous with millions of orphans and refugees and countless lives destroyed in Iraq, beating the drums of war without pause, the ultimate prostitutes of propaganda.

With this understanding I solicited an agreement with the BBC producers, in return for my interview the program would include the fact that we disarmed, captured and ultimately released three Israeli commandos (after giving them medical attention no less). That was the deal, a deal I made with an audio recorder in service.

And yes the poor Israeli commandos were beaten, just as any invader in any capable persons home would be beaten. I take no issue with that fact.

But truth be told, the commandos we captured should thank us for their lives. I ask the Israeli’s, British and American people specifically, if your home was invaded, your family being murdered, would you be willing to disarm, completely control, and then set a murderer of your family free?

You can lie to yourself if you like, bury that head right down deep in the sand, but that ship was our home, and we were all brothers and sisters, aunties and uncles, united, a family, engaged in a most righteous cause, with the vast majority of the planet behind us. The primary beneficiary of our mission, over 800,000 innocent children.

For those lost in a pit of ignorance and indoctrination, those currently stripped of all reason, absent of conscience, duped and hoodwinked, I know you very well because I was once you, a US Marine robot volunteering to kill or be killed. I see my past self in the Zionist who has no capacity at this moment to think, for in that state it is all about regurgitation, independent thought is but a possibility. For you I maintain no hate, for nobody actually, rather it is pity, pity for you that you sacrifice the greatest gift of all, the gift of humanity.

And so it is that the BBC, absent of integrity, contemptuous of humanity, attempts in this program to turn disarmed, helpless Israeli commandos into heroic self-rescuing commandos who managed to Superman their way out of a circle of well over 100 very motivated men whose brothers lay murdered with multiple gunshot wounds. That is what we call a bald-faced lie. Big time lie, in your face lie, you in the audience are a bunch of drooling idiots lie.

Returning from the Zionist alternate universe, we held in our power the fate of three boy commandos who may well have been murderers on that night. Think about that, under these circumstances, we let them go. That is what we call preserving life.

It is not that BBC does not know the truth, there are literally hundreds of witnesses and overflowing facts to reveal it; it is simply BBC’s slavish duty to produce a Zionist storyline of illusions and deceptions. And the story goes that we are the aggressors, “terrorists”, “extremists” and killers. Only in this context can the poor Israeli commandos be victims. How is it possible to dominate and control commandos simply to let them go if we are killers? Answer, it isn’t. And that is precisely why Panorama blatantly lied.

Ah but the irony, the kind of irony that always provides me a smile from the inside out, the irony of these lies being big, beautiful gifts. In all sincerity, thank you BBC.

The BBC says there is doubt as to who fired first. There is no doubt at all who shot who and when to the hundreds of us on the Mavi Marmara and other ships. The Israelis have said we shot at them, well where are their gunshot wounds? And even if you have gunshot wounds, how do we know you did not shoot yourselves? Exactly like you did in “Operation Cast Lead”?

Returning once again from the Zionist alternate universe, the Israeli military attacked in international waters and murdered within the first five minutes of the attack. The attack resulting in scores of gunshot wounds and death in rapid succession. Blood spilling all over the ship. In that environment I took possession of a 9mm pistol that I removed from one of the commandos… and I emptied it of the (real) bullets. Other weapons were seized by other brothers and thrown into the sea, one of which was an assault rifle. Yet when others and myself had the power to end life, and believe me it was as simple as release the safety, point, shoot, over. Instead we preserved life, by taking those weapons away from established killers, we prevented them from killing more. We literally saved our lives and their lives. That is what we call cold, hard facts.

We could have taken out at least three of them, but we did not. Nope, we let them go.

The BBC mentions that we were in international waters at the very end of the story, as if this were an insignificant fact. The fact that Israel stole all the footage that it could, footage that undoubtedly shows them firing 4 bullets to the head of the 19-year-old American passenger, Furkan Dogan. No problem. Executing people at close range, no worries. The fact that the blockade itself is illegal, nah, don’t mention that. 800,000 plus children in Gaza, malnourished, anemic, traumatised… not important.

I would need to review this program many times over to identify every poisoned tactic that the BBC employed in order to do what they do so well, justify murder and war.

Nevertheless BBC’s perversion of the truth will elevate the cause of justice immensely, delegitimizing itself in such grand fashion was indeed a great big gift.

Hats off to ya BBC!

Ken O’Keefe is Managing Director of Aloha Palestine and blogs here. He was on board the Mavi Marmara.

UPDATE:
Demonstration against ‘Death on the Med’ :: Location: BBC Television Centre, London :: Date: Sunday, 22 August 2010 :: Time 13:00

August 17, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | 1 Comment