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James Cameron—King of Hypocrites

By Ann McElhinney | 22 August 2010

Last March James Cameron sounded defiant.

The Avatar director was determined to expose journalists, such as myself, who thought it was important to ask questions about climate change orthodoxy and the radical “solutions” being proposed.

Cameron said was itching to debate the issue and show skeptical journalists and scientists that they were wrong.

“I want to call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out with those boneheads,” he said in an interview.

Well, a few weeks ago Mr. Cameron seemed to honor his word.

His representatives contacted myself and two other well known skeptics, Marc Morano of the Climate Depot website and Andrew Breitbart, the new media entrepreneur.

Mr. Cameron was attending the AREDAY environmental conference in Aspen Colorado 19-22 August. He wanted the conference to end with a debate on climate change. Cameron would be flanked with two scientists. It would be 90 minutes long. It would be streamed live on the internet.

They hoped the debate would attract a lot of media coverage.

“We are delighted to have Fox News, Newsmax, The Washington Times and anyone else you’d like. The more the better,” one of James Cameron’s organizers said in an email.

It looked like James Cameron really was a man of his word who would get to take on the skeptics  he felt were so endangering humanity.

Everyone on our side agreed with their conditions. The debate was even listed on the AREDAY agenda.

But then as the debate approached James Cameron’s side started changing the rules.

They wanted to change their team. We agreed.

They wanted to change the format to less of a debate—to “a roundtable”. We agreed.

Then they wanted to ban our cameras from the debate. We could have access to their footage. We agreed.

Bizarrely, for a brief while, the worlds most successful film maker suggested that no cameras should be allowed-that sound only should be recorded. We agreed

Then finally James Cameron, who so publicly announced that he “wanted to call those deniers out into the street at high noon and shoot it out,” decided to ban the media from the shoot out.

He even wanted to ban the public. The debate/roundtable would only be open to those who attended the conference.

No media would be allowed and there would be no streaming on the internet.  No one would be allowed to record it in any way.

We all agreed to that.

And then, yesterday, just one day before the debate, his representatives sent an email that Mr. “shoot it out ” Cameron no longer wanted to take part. The debate was cancelled.

James Cameron’s behavior raises some very important questions.

Does he genuinely believe in man made climate change?  If he believes it is a danger to humanity surely he should be debating the issue every chance he gets ?

Or is it just a pose?

The man who called for an open and public debate at “high noon” suddenly doesn’t want his policies open to serious scrutiny.

I was looking forward to debating with the film maker. I was looking forward to finding out where we agreed and disagreed and finding a way forward that would help the poorest people in the developing and developed world.

But that is not going to happen because somewhere along the way James Cameron, a great film maker, has moved from King of the World to being King of the Hypocrites.

August 22, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | 4 Comments

Holocaust ‘denier’ death, Mossad linked

Press TV – August 22, 2010

Dariusz Ratajczak

American writer JP Bellinger does not rule out the the involvement of Israeli spy agency, Mossad, in the tragic death of a Polish historian, who was researching on the Holocaust.

Dariusz Ratajczak, a former professor at the University of Opole, was found dead in a car parked near a shopping center in Opole on June 11, 2010.

Forensic reports indicated that the body was in the car for nearly two weeks, but was in an advanced state of decay, suggesting that it was moved to car long after Ratajczak’s death.

“After being questioned, a number of witnesses told the police that the car had only recently been parked there,” Bellinger wrote in his article.

“Professor Ratajczak’s death was ruled a ‘suicide,’ but skeptical people, perhaps bearing in mind the recent arrest of a Mossad assassin operating in Poland, are asking how a person in an advanced stage of decomposition was able to drive to a public parking lot and park a car?” he inquired.

He was referring to Uri Brodsky, Mossad agent accused of helping fake a German passport that was used by one of the members of a hit squad involved in the killing of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a senior Hamas commander, in a Dubai hotel in January.

Bellinger went on to say that Ratajczak’s troubles began with the publication of his booklet, “Dangerous Topics,” in March 1999 for which he was convicted of Holocaust denial in Poland.

“What possesses greater intrinsic value? Maintaining the mainstream version of the Holocaust at any cost or the life of a single human being whose only offence was to engage in historical research in a quest for the truth?”

Ratajczak believed it was not possible to kill millions of people in the Nazi gas chambers — a view that provoked a firestorm of criticism among his contemporaries and Israel’s lobbies.

Michael Sobelman, the spokesman the Israeli Embassy in Poland, accused Ratajczak of anti-Semitism and expressed “surprise” that “such a man works at a Polish university.”

Sobelman’s comment preceded Ratajczak’s expulsion from the University of Opole.

Ratajczak believed that the charge of anti-Semitism had become a sort of exceptionally brutal weapon, which the “establishment” uses ruthlessly against independent thinking men.

“What hurts me most is that I found myself in a group of historians who have been muzzled. After all, please see: from 45 years to now the number of Jews murdered in Auschwitz-Birkenau has dropped from six million to less than one million. It’s official data. Indeed, even if they had killed one man, that would be a tragedy. But how is it that some historians may legitimately question the numbers of the Holocaust, and others can not? How is it that some people can reduce the six million to less than a million and nothing bad is happening to them? How is it that some people are not allowed to examine this subject and even be wrong, while other historians are allowed all this?” Ratajczak commented.

Bellinger says disturbing news of Ratajczak’s death shocked some traditionalist and patriotic organizations in Poland, and concludes by asking, “Is questioning the holocaust, or holocaust ‘denial’ of more intrinsic worth than the life of any human being?”

August 22, 2010 Posted by | Full Spectrum Dominance | 27 Comments

Wikileaks – The Real Stuff – A Response To Israel Shamir

Joe Quinn | Signs of The Times | 23 Aug 2010

Israel Shamir recently published his opinion on the Wikileaks exposé and in the process took issue with those who had dismissed the leaks as a distraction. While I wasn’t named by Shamir as one of the dissenters, I had waxed skeptical in a recent Sott.net editorial on the topic.

I sent the following letter to Shamir:

Dear Shamir,

You title your last missive Wikileaks – The Real Stuff, yet you fail to point to anything “real” or valuable in the Wikileaks documents. Can you point to any detail, either within the documents or within those documents that have been published by the mainstream media that was not already publicly available?

Alternatively, can you point to some evidence that the release of the documents has in some way effected a sea-change in the general public opinion of the US misadventure in Afghanistan? I ask this because, such is the hype surrounding the release of the documents, I think we are all justified in expecting ‘big things’ as a result.

I don’t doubt that the coverage of the Wikileaks documents by the mainstream media has lent extra weight to the long-established truth (as purveyed most notably by the alternative news sites) that civilians are being murdered in Afghanistan, but the precise number of dead is all important, as is where to lay the blame.

Do you really think the Wikileaks documents and the mainstream media reporting on them serve up a dish of raw Truth to the public? Or is it possible that it has been cooked to some extent?

The UK Guardian newspaper has taken the lead in the dissemination of the Wikileaks documents. Take a look at this article, if you have not already done so. It is the main story that appeared in the Guardian announcing the documents, and consider the bullet-pointed summation at the beginning:

  • Hundreds of civilians killed by coalition troops
  • Covert unit hunts leaders for ‘kill or capture’
  • Steep rise in Taliban bomb attacks on NATO

Were you shocked, Shamir? “Hundreds” killed by coalition troops! The true figure is over 30,000 Afghan civilians killed as a result of the US invasion.

How many average US or European citizens do you think will be shocked by the claim that a “covert unit hunts” those evil ‘Tailban’ leaders? Is this meant to be a shocking exposé?

And what are we to make of the “steep rise in Taliban attacks on NATO”? Is this meant to elicit a “poor NATO” response from readers?

But I admit, some people are strong-willed, and read further than the bullet points of an article, and at least get to the end of the first paragraph where, in the case of the Guardian exposé, the public is treated to a further data point:

“NATO commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency.”

Do you find that interesting Shamir? Suspicious even? Is it possible that a reasonable person could make a tenuous link between the hint that Iran is involved in the increased attacks on US troops in Afghanistan and the incessant sabre-rattling from both the US and Israel over a threatened attack on Iran?

But we could read on a little further and learn that: “the Taliban have caused growing carnage with a massive escalation of their roadside bombing campaign, which has killed more than 2,000 civilians to date.” So we understand that the ‘Taliban’ are to blame for the vast majority of civilian deaths, while “coalition forces” are responsible for “at least 195 civilians killed […] and 174 wounded, in total”

Thanks to the documents and the Guardian then, we now know that the ‘Taliban’ are the real aggressors in Afghanistan. It was much the same with Iraq after all. While not everyone knows that well over 1 million Iraqis have been killed in the last 7 years, most people know that ‘civil war’ is to blame. As a result, everyone also understands that, when the white devils invade a Middle Eastern or S.E. Asian country, local military strategy stipulates that the best way for the host nation’s population to defeat the invader is to wage war on each other. Those Arabs and Asians must be a bit crazy, eh? But hey, it makes sense to the Western mind!

On the Guardian’s interactive war-logs page, we are treated to a cornucopia of videos and flash pages, all very pleasing to eye but none providing any more substance than that written in black and white print. The emphasis on Iran and Pakistan as the real problem is hard to miss. In an editorial entitled: Afghanistan war logs: the unvarnished picture, we are informed that:

“In these documents, Iran’s and Pakistan’s intelligence agencies run riot. Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is linked to some of the war’s most notorious commanders. The ISI is alleged to have sent 1,000 motorbikes to the warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani for suicide attacks in Khost and Logar provinces”

Are you getting the picture yet?

Under “latest news” in the ‘War logs’ section, the Guardian reports what you mention in your defence of Wikileaks, that Reporters Without Borders has accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of “incredible irresponsibility” over the leaked documents.

The accusation is inane and baseless, as you note, but I am more interested in how this attack on Assange (and indirectly on The Guardian for publishing the documents), serves to convince an increasingly disgruntled public that these documents, and the Guardian’s analysis of them, are the ‘real deal’. Are we really at last seeing a little honest-to-god mainstream journalism?

I have sifted through the 92,000 documents, and based on the details therein, I agree with the Guardian’s analysis of their overall message – Iran and Pakistan and the ‘Taliban’ are evil and responsible for most of the deaths in Afghanistan. For sure, US troops are trigger happy at times, but who can blame them? War is hell after all! And to be honest, who can blame them for going after the bad guys…”dead or alive!”

Do you agree with this assessment of the root causes of the problems facing Afghanistan and the Afghan people today? More importantly, is the general public now more convinced that this perspective is an accurate one because it comes from the ‘secret documents’ of Whistle blowers?

Yesterday, for a while, Assange was accused of ‘rape and molestation’ by the Swedish public prosecutor. Assange was in Sweden last week. Within a few hours the charges were dropped however. Interestingly, Wikileaks is in the process of moving its operations to Sweden. Would you believe me if I suggested that the rape allegation was possibly a case of ‘reverse psychology’? That someone, somewhere, with considerable influence, flirted with the idea of accusing Assange in order to lend credence to the idea that ‘they’ are out to get him and thereby set in stone his and Wikileaks’ image as true champions of the people? Or do you demand that our world be more prosaic, and that the wayward son a Saudi royal really was the mastermind behind the incredibly complex 9/11 attacks?

I am not, however, totally convinced that we are dealing with some grand conspiracy involving Reporters Without Borders, the CIA, the White House, the Pentagon and the Guardian, etc. mainly because a conspiracy is not necessary. If we simply take the US National Security State apparatus, the US military command structure, the illegal invasion and occupation of a sovereign S.E. Asian state, throw in some for-profit newspapers and a well-meaning, somewhat naive and impressionable 29-year old hacker, and a public starving for something real but who must be kept on a diet of half-truths and hollow hopes, we have all the ingredients we need for a controversial issue. The result can look like a conspiracy, when in fact it is just another day’s news in the mixtus orbis that is 2010 planet earth – that is to say, the unfiltered Truth is seldom seen, and increasingly, in these increasingly desperate times, when it does chance to poke its head above the parapet, it very often treads on the toes of those emotionally invested in the idea that there can be any real positive change in our world without the conscious, active participation of all, or at least a majority.

Regards

Joe Quinn
Editor
Sott.net

Shamir responded to my letter:

Dear Joe, probably we’ll have to work hard to achieve ‘sea-change’ you and I wish to have. Wikileaks is just one of the tools, not a magic wand. Did they deliver some impressive news? Yes. The US pays in cash to Iraqi and Afghani media for positive coverage. For journalists this is important news. They released hundreds of names of the US agents. The hit squad is not to be pooh-poohed, either. It was never published in the US, only in the UK and Germany. Wikileaks Afghan stuff is raw data, it has to be processed to become acceptable. The bias, as I’ve said, is that of newspapers that process, but you can also process the stuff if you are willing. Julian Assange is definitely not 29-year old somewhat naïve hacker – he is 39 and quite astute. And your question about Osama, I presume is facile – my view was expressed on September 12, 2001 in the piece called Orient Express

I respect Israel Shamir and his significant efforts in service to the truth, but his myopia over the Wikileaks documents and his response to my comments is a little depressing. The release of names of US agents (informers) in Afghanistan is not news because it tells is something we already knew: that the US military uses informers in Afghanistan. Of what value to the anti-war movement is the additional detail of their names? The ‘Taliban’, on the other hand, have apparently shown great interest. So who is that a score for? You and me, Wikileaks, The Taliban, or the US military?

Shamir’s suggestion to “process” the raw data is equally unhelpful. We have processed it. It tells us that Iran and Pakistan are the bad guys and the US is killing civilians in Afghanistan, but not as many as the Taliban. I can read than on CNN.

The news of ‘hit squads’ is old news. 7 years ago the Guardian informed us that not only were US ‘hit squads’ operating in Iraq, but that they were being trained by the Israelis! And in any case, is the idea that ‘hit squads’ are being used to track down the evil ‘Taliban’ in Afghanistan more appalling than the fact, splashed across American broadsheets earlier this year, that Obama signed a bill earlier this year authorizing the assassination of an American citizen by the CIA??

That the US pays the Iraqi and Afghan media for positive coverage is not only old news, it’s only half the story. Has Shamir forgotten the Lincoln Group and the precocious Christian Bailey? The Lincoln group won (read: was awarded) a $100 Million contract to essentially control the entire Iraqi media via its own ‘Iraqi’ publications and monopolizing the advertising industry. All of these details have been carried by the mainstream press starting in 2005.

I can only conclude that Shamir hasn’t been keeping up with the news, because all, and I mean ALL of the important information in the Wikileaks documents has been available from outlets like the Washington Post, etc. for many years. So I’m faced with a dilemma; either I go to the Washington Post from now on for all the Pentagon’s dirty secrets, or I don’t believe the hype around the Wikileaks documents.

As for 9/11, I’m disheartened that, in the 9 intervening years, Shamir appears not to have accepted any new data about what really happened on 9/11.

 

  • See also, Shamir extolling Obama, July 2009:

Obama Lynching Party


August 22, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | Comments Off on Wikileaks – The Real Stuff – A Response To Israel Shamir

Hebron: Israeli Military and Policemen Shut Three Palestinian Shops

By Christian Peacemaker Teams | August 22, 2010

Every Saturday for the last several months, Youth Against the Settlements has led a nonviolent action – “Open Shuhada Street” – at the entrance to the Old City of Hebron. On Tuesday, 10 August 2010 the Israeli military and police forcibly welded shut three stores that stand directly behind the area of the weekly Saturday action and across from the gate of an Israeli military base.

Israeli soldiers in Hebron (photo from palsolidarity)
Israeli soldiers in Hebron (photo from palsolidarity)

A local friend alerted Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) at 2:45 p.m. that the shopkeeper had received a warning that the military would close his shops, and he had half an hour to remove all his merchandise. After arriving at the site, CPTers alerted other internationals, partner organizations and media to come. A crowd of about 75 people assembled in front of the stores. As they waited, Palestinians removed and hid two of the shop doors.

A little after 4:00 p.m., 30 soldiers and three policemen arrived and pushed their way into the shops where internationals and Palestinians were waiting. The soldiers pulled the civilians out of the shops, scattered much of the merchandise, and dragged a Palestinian behind the gate. Red Crescent of the International Red Cross came shortly thereafter and examined the Palestinian man who had been injured while being dragged. They determined he had a brain concussion and advised the police that he needed hospitalization. The police replied they would take the Palestinian man to the jail, question him and then decide if he needed hospitalization.

Declaring the area from the military base to the stores a “closed military zone,” the soldiers formed two lines and progressively forced the crowd away from the stores being closed. Other soldiers retrieved the two hidden doors and welded shut the three shops. An Israeli policeman pushed the shopkeeper’s large cart of merchandise into one of the stores before the doors were welded shut. One of the CPTers urged the policeman to bring the cart out of the shop or allow her to retrieve it for the shopkeeper, but the policeman refused. One British man and four Palestinians were arrested.

The British man was released the next morning at 2:30 a.m. on the condition that he immediately leave the West Bank and not return for 15 days. The four Palestinians are now in Ofer Prison. The brother of the man with the brain concussion reported to CPTers that his brother was never hospitalized.

August 22, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | 1 Comment

Israel tells schools not to teach nakba

Jonathan Cook | The National | August 21, 2010

NAZARETH // Government officials warned Israeli teachers last week not to cooperate with a civic group that seeks to educate Israelis about how the Palestinians view the loss of their homeland and the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

Israel’s education ministry issued the advisory after Zochrot – a Jewish group that seeks to raise awareness among Israeli Jews of the events of 1948, referred to as the “nakba” by Palestinians – organised a workshop for primary school teachers.

The ministry said the course had not been approved and told teachers not to participate in Zochrot-sponsored activities during the coming school year.

In a letter to the education ministry protesting against Zochrot’s activities, the Legal Forum for the Land of Israel, an advocacy group for Jewish settlers, had called the group’s educational materials “part of a criminal vision to wipe Israel off the face of the earth”.

It was unclear whether participants in the workshop for primary school teachers would be punished, but a teacher identified as a trainer for the seminar might be investigated by the education ministry, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The warning is the latest move by the education ministry, headed by Gideon Saar, a member of the prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party, to use school curricula to advance a more strident Zionist agenda.

In March, for instance, the ministry banned Israeli schools from distributing a booklet for children about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Critics had objected to parts of the declaration that refer to freedom of religion and protection of asylum-seekers.

The ministry’s latest move involves the controversies that still swirl over the events that led to the creation of the Jewish state in 1948 – what Israelis describe as their “War of Independence” and what Palestinians call the nakba, Arabic for “catastrophe”.

Eitan Bronstein, Zochrot’s director, said the ministry was trying to “frighten off” teachers from learning about a period in Israel’s history that until now, he said, had been presented in schools only from a “triumphalist perspective”.

The group, which was founded eight years ago and whose Hebrew name means “remembering”, has provoked controversy by organising visits to some of the hundreds of Palestinian villages destroyed by the Israeli army during and after the 1948 war.

Zochrot members place signposts at the former villages using their original Arabic names, and bring Palestinian refugees back on visits, upsetting Jewish residents who live in communities built on those lands.

In recent months, Zochrot has concentrated on developing a programme on the nakba for schools, allowing teachers to address the subject from a Palestinian perspective for the first time.

Mr Bronstein said more than 300 high school teachers had asked for Zochrot’s information kits over the past year, and a few primary school teachers had started to show an interest too. That has provoked a backlash from education officials and right-wing groups.

“A small but growing number of teachers are curious about the nakba and want to find out more,” he said. “The problem is that the education authorities see this development as threatening and are prepared to intimidate teachers to stop them from getting involved.”

Last week’s workshop was the first Zochrot had arranged for primary school teachers.

Hebrew textbooks focus chiefly on the success of Israel’s troops during the 1948 war. The books say that the 750,000 refugees either left voluntarily or were ordered to leave by Arab armies. Most historians now say that Israeli troops either physically expelled the Palestinians or frightened them so much that they fled.

In 2006 an Israeli historian, Ilan Pappe, published a popular book in English – but little read inside Israel – that went farther, arguing that Israel had implemented a military plan to “ethnically cleanse” Palestinians even before Israel’s founders declared statehood.

A year later Yuli Tamir, the dovish education minister, provoked public outrage by approving for the first time the use of the word “nakba” in an Arabic textbook for the quarter of the school population who belong to the country’s Palestinian minority.

The book was banned last summer by Mr Saar, Ms Tamir’s successor.

Mr Saar has also backed legislation to punish groups and individuals who commemorate the nakba. The bill, which enjoys wide support, is working its way through the parliament.

Zochrot’s kit includes teaching units on life among Palestinians before and after the 1948 war, personal stories from refugees, a tour of a destroyed village, and a discussion of the refugees’ right of return.

Amaya Galili, Zochrot’s educational coordinator, said that although the group offered complete lesson plans, most teachers incorporated only elements of the programme so that officials would not notice they were using Zochrot’s material.

A history teacher in Jerusalem, who did not want to be identified, said she was one of half a dozen in the city who had participated in Zochrot’s courses.

She said, however, that her new-found understanding of the nakba had had almost no impact on either the curriculum or the pupils at the school.

“There are many other ways for the school to make sure that an atmosphere of fear prevails towards Palestinians. It’s easy to insert a nationalistic and religious agenda into the classroom – and, after all, I am just one teacher.”

The changes at the education ministry have become increasingly apparent since Mr Saar’s appointment nearly 18 months ago.

Earlier this year, the ministry demanded that its logo be removed from a joint Hebrew and Arabic website called Common Ground, which aims to promote greater understanding between the country’s Jewish and Palestinian citizens. Officials had objected to Zochrot’s posting of a story written by a Palestinian girl about the nakba.

Ms Galili said the ministry’s response to Zochrot’s work contrasted strongly with its encouragement of private initiatives by right-wing groups.

One, called Gush Katif week, brings former Jewish settlers from Gaza into 400 schools to celebrate life before Israeli troops and Jewish settlers withdrew from the Strip in 2005. Another, Mibereshit, run by a far-right rabbi and financed by evangelical Christians in the US, offers pupils tours of the country, including the settlements, in a bid to “strengthen Zionist education”.

“Many of these programmes sound superficially reasonable. They’re presented as ‘instilling positive values’ or ‘learning to love the land’. But, in fact, they are cover for dubious initiatives by religious and settler groups”, Ms Galili said.

Over the past year, Mr Saar has emphasised courses on Zionism, Jewish heritage and Judaism. He also has increased pupils’ visits to Jerusalem’s Palestinian districts and introduced a programme to bring soldiers into the classroom to help enlist pupils into the military.

August 22, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | 2 Comments

“The Right To Exist” – States or People?

By Sonja Karkar | October 2, 2007

It is a curious phrase this “right to exist”. Israel wants the world to accept its “right to exist” as a state, but it denies the indigenous Palestinians their right to exist as a people in their own land.   International relations only acknowledges the rights of people, not states. [1] States exist because of the formal recognition afforded them by other states, and now that Israel is recognised as a state, it in fact exists.   It makes no sense to demand that a political party recognise Israel’s “right to exist”, much less punish 4 million Palestinians because a majority voted the Hamas Party into government.  Yet, these are the very words that are holding the Palestinians, particularly those in Gaza, to an impossible ransom.

For the outside world, Israel’s demand for the “right to exist” seems a natural enough request and easy enough words to say.  However, most people have no idea of the real import of those words for the Palestinians.  For them to accept the “right to exist”, effectively means that they accept their own dispossession.   That dispossession is still going on after 60 years and there are now some 6 million Palestinian refugees who are refused their right to return home or even a modicum of compensation.  And, that is not counting the 4 million Palestinians under Israel’s occupation who daily see more of their land taken from them while they are squeezed and contained in what remains, or the 1.5 million Palestinian citizens in Israel whose rights are being increasingly compromised and denied.   As long as the Palestinians exist, Israel will always see them as an obstacle to its ultimate quest for an exclusively  “Jewish state” in a greater Israel.

Israel’s demand that its “right to exist” be recognised, is constantly fluid. Israel refuses to accept any demarcated borders and certainly not the internationally-recognised Green Line of 1967 and is the only nation in the world without declared borders. [2] As far back as 1948, Israel determined that its territory had to be more than the 55 per cent given it by the UN partition and wasted no time in its ruthless expropriation of Palestinian land – driving out the Palestinians or simply forcing them to live under Israel’s occupation.  The 78 per cent of Palestinian land that it amassed is now recognised as Israel, and it is that area that was painfully acknowledged by Palestinian Chairman Arafat in 1988 as “the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security”. His crucial mistake was to ask for nothing in return.   He should at the very least have demanded that Israel recognise the right of Palestinians to exist as a free people in all of the remaining 22 per cent. Israel, of course, accorded no such right to the Palestinians who continued to live – and still do – without any peace or security under Israel’s occupation.  Before, then and since, the grave injustice of Palestinian dispossession has never been redressed.

When Arafat held up the olive branch and said “do not let the olive branch fall from my hand’, that was the moment that Israel could have freed the Palestinians from its occupation of Gaza and the West Bank and allowed a Palestinian state to exist side by side with Israel. Edward Said saw it clearly when he stated “only the Palestinians explicitly recognised the notion of partition.  Israel never has.” [3] Instead, Israel intensified its illegal settlement enterprise and continued with its mass immigration program of Jews from around the world to settle them inside occupied Palestinian territory.  By the time Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak made his fallacious “generous offer” of land to the Palestinians at Camp David in 2000, [4] the Palestinians had barely 12 per cent left of their historic homeland, and ten years later, it has been whittled down to around 7 per cent.  So, it is perfectly legitimate for the Palestinians to ask – on how much of the land does Israel want to exist?

Every policy and action undertaken by Israel is focused on creating an exclusively Jewish state in all of Palestine.  From the very beginning, Zionist leaders made sure that all land taken would be held in trust on behalf of “the Jewish people in perpetuity”. [5] Through a process of confiscation and transfer – known as “redeeming the land” – Jews worldwide have available to them land for lease in Israel. This discriminates outrageously against the 1.5 million Palestinian citizens living inside Israel who are not given equal rights with the immigrant Jews and who are allowed to live on only 3 per cent of the land while the rest is available solely to Israel’s Jewish citizens. They are finding themselves more and more isolated from the rest of Israeli society with none of the privileges as Israel finds even more fiendish ways to contain its demographic problem.  It is a real problem because Israel wants a “Jewish” state, not a “state for all its citizens”; it wants a democracy for “Jews only”, not a democracy for all its citizens.  This should give pause to anyone holding up Israel’s “beacon of democracy” as something to admire.

Furthermore, when Israel insists on the Palestinians accepting its “right to exist”, it has everything to do with the Palestinians signing off on their own dispossession and nothing to do with Israel’s fear of an existential threat.   Israel’s survival is guaranteed because of its overwhelming military might and not by the Palestinians recognising its “right to exist”.  It is the fourth most powerful army in the world [6] and there is not an Arab nation today that would challenge Israel’s war machine.   If Israel allowed a Palestinian state to exist, Israel knows very well that it would never have the military capacity to threaten Israel’s existence.   However, demanding that “right” makes for powerful propaganda as the world is still held in thrall by the David and Goliath illusion.

A worrying development in these past weeks has come from the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who told US Jewish leaders in Washington “I would never deny [the] Jewish right to the land of Israel.” [7] In 2007, it had already been reported that Abbas had given Israeli Prime Minister Olmert a commitment to recognise Israel as “a state for the Jews”.    If true, it would really give free rein to Israel’s already racist policies and practices. The Palestinians living inside Israel would find themselves not only discriminated against, but very likely in danger of being ethnically cleansed from the Jewish state.   It would also absolutely negate the inalienable right of Palestinians to return home, and all the rights the Palestinians have under international law would suddenly become irrelevant.

Needless to say, such reports (if indeed they are true) leave the Palestinians wondering what is left to them after all the years of sacrifice and struggle.    Despite the numerous United Nations resolutions that have been passed acknowledging their rights, despite Israel flagrantly breaching international law and continuing to violate their very person and property, despite the meticulously documented evidence of Palestinians having been massacred and terrorised into fleeing so Israel can appropriate their land, despite the voices of respected world figures exposing Israel’s apartheid practices, despite Jewish voices increasingly raised in protest against Israel’s racist policies, despite internationals risking and losing their own lives to help the Palestinians in non-violent acts of resistance,  the Palestinians are staring at a future that refuses to recognise the gross injustices done to them, much less provide any protection for their existence: that is, if Israel has its way.

No other nation in the world demands a “right to exist”. The notion most likely arose in international relations because former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger said in 1975 that the US “will not recognise or negotiate with the Palestinian Liberation Organisation (PLO) as long as the PLO does not recognise Israel’s right to exist and does not accept Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338”. [8] The international community took up the refrain and continues posing the question “What about Israel’s right to exist?”, but almost no one asks about the right of Palestinians to exist.

With each demand, we are seeing Israel edge closer to its ultimate goal.  Ehud Olmert let us know as much when he said to the US Congress on 24 May 2006 that he believes the Jewish people have “an eternal and historic right to this entire land”. [9] It could not be clearer:  Israel demands the right to exist as an exclusively Jewish State in all of Palestine. The Palestinians do not figure in this scenario at all.  No wonder previous peace negotiations have failed and there is nothing to suggest that the November peace conference will be any different.  As long as Israel refuses to recognise Palestinian rights, and as long as international interlocutors insist on Israel’s “right to exist” over the rights of people, every attempt at negotiating peace will be doomed to failure.

The situation for the Palestinians right now is very dangerous.  Israel’s settlement enterprise has been largely achieved: 42 per cent of the West Bank is off limits to the Palestinians and the rest has been virtually cantonised with movement all but restricted between them.  Gaza is totally isolated.  There is not a border or space in or around Palestinian land that is not controlled by Israel.   Also, Israel is creating facts on the ground that have already made it impossible for the Palestinians to have their state within the 1967 Green line. What is left has been made deliberately confusing and has led to the myth of the “generous” offer.  The 92 per cent that Israel is again offering the Palestinians, is 92 per cent of the 22 per cent of land left within the Green line, not 92 per cent of the whole that the Palestinians originally owned.    Such an offer is frankly insulting and so are the further border adjustments that Israel is making even as the offer is on the table.   It shows to what audacious lengths Israel will go to exist as a Jewish state.  That it is at the expense of the Palestinian right to exist in their own land, is illegal and immoral. It would be suicide for the Palestinian leadership to agree to anything that is not reciprocated, particularly the unconditional recognition of the Jewish state and the demand for its “right to exist”.

Sonja Karkar is the founder of Women for Palestine and a co-founder of Australians for Palestine in Melbourne, Australia.  She edits the website http://www.australiansforpalestine.com

 

 

Footnotes:

[1] Burchill, Dr Scott – “Does Israel’s “right to exist” actually exist?” crikey.com, 10 October 2006 According to some theorists from the “realist” tradition of international relations, states have no “right” to exist because such a right cannot be enforced by a higher authority than the state. . . Acknowledging a state’s right to exist, or insisting on such a pledge from others, is therefore a meaningless gesture – or worse, a political tactic.”

http://www.crikey.com.au/Politics/20061010-Israels-right-to-exist-does-it-exist.html

[2] Said, Prof Edward – “What Israel has done”, The Nation, (18 April 2002 – 6 May, 2002 issue)

[3] Ibid.

[4] Foundation for Middle East Peace (FMEP) “’How Generous is Generous?’ in Crossroads of Conflict: Israeli-Palestinian Relations Face an Uncertain Future”, Special Report, Winter 2000

An analysis of the Israeli proposals by FMEP concluded that Israel:

1. only proposed to relinquish control over between 77.5-81 percent of the West Bank excluding East Jerusalem, which most likely included Israel’s retaining of the Jordan Valley.

2. wanted sovereignty over one-third of occupied East Jerusalem and all of West Jerusalem.

3. wanted control of the third holiest site in Islam, al-Haram al-Sharif (which Israel refers to as the ‘Temple Mount’), where “Israel, incredibly, also demanded Palestinian agreement to the construction of a synagogue.”

 

[5] Palestine Land Society, “Financing Racism and Apartheid – Jewish National Fund’s Violation of International and Domestic Law”, August 2005, p.4

[6] Hassan, Ghali, “Are Israel’s Interests in America’s Interests?” Countercurrents.org,

(29 March 2006) http://www.countercurrents.org/hassan290306.htm ;

Pilger, John, “Children of the Dust”, New Statesman, (28 May 2007) http://www.newstatesman.com/200705280029

[7] Natasha Mozgovaya, “Abbas tells US Jews: I would never deny Jewish right to the land of Israel” Haaretz,  (10 June 2010)

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/abbas-tells-u-s-jews-i-would-never-deny-jewish-right-to-the-land-of-israel-1.295293

 

 

[8]     Israel-United States Memorandum of Understanding, 1 September 1975

Accord on Geneva 2. The United States will continue to adhere to its present policy with respect to the Palestine Liberation Organization, whereby it will not recognize or negotiate with the Palestine Liberation Organization so long as the Palestine Liberation Organization does not recognize Israel’s right to exist and does not accept Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338.”

 

[9] Address by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Joint Meeting of US Congress, 24 May 2006

August 22, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | 5 Comments

A case of decency deficit: Israel’s sickness goes beyond one soldier and her Facebook pictures

By Lawrence Davidson | 22 August 2010

It is true that in any given population there will always be a range of decency. Some might use the term morality instead of decency, but morality is loaded with too many disputed meanings. The term decency, hopefully, has a broader recognizable footprint. At the lowest end of any range of decency are those who are so egocentric or perverted that they not only act in ways that are harmful to others, but they do so as a form of enjoyment.

In extreme cases, such people usually end up in prison, or even asylums for the criminally insane. They have committed serial murders or some other form of horrible physical abuse. They have robbed their elderly neighbours for the fun of it or set fire to the local hospital or what have you.

Yet, it is a strange quirk of our way of doing things that such degenerates can actually find a place in society where there is an accepted scope for their particular attitudes and actions. That place would have to bring them into contact with people outside the community and toward whom their society is hostile, a place where the “rules of engagement”, as the phrase goes, is much more flexible and fuzzy than back home. That place is the military in times of war. This is not to say that every soldier is suffering from a severe case of “decency deficit”. However, if one has been in the military, particularly in a combat environment, one will most likely recognize the type. While everyone else is scared and counting the days until they can get out of an essentially inhuman environment, these people are enjoying themselves.

There has been a recent case of moderate decency deficiency involving a 20-year-old female Israeli soldier by the name of Eden Abargil. Ms Abargil had her picture taken as she “guarded” Palestinian prisoners who were bound and blindfolded. She stands there with her rifle and smiles at the camera. She is not the only one who comes away from serving in Israel’s occupation army with such photographic trophies. What makes her special is that she posted this and other pictures on Facebook, under the title “The army, the best time of my life”.

According to the Israeli human rights group Breaking the Silence, these sort of trophy pictures are such a “widespread phenomenon” that taking them constitutes “a norm”. Why so? Because it is the “necessary result of a long term military control of a civilian population”. No doubt this is true, though if you are sufficiently decency deficient your exposure does not have to be “long term” at all.

Ms Abargil gave an interview on Israeli Army Radio on 17 August. She proclaimed herself “mystified” by those who were upset at the postings. She asked the audience: “What is wrong with that [putting the pictures on Facebook]?” After all, she continued, “there was no violence in the pictures” and “they reflect the military experience”. Abargil seems to have decency deficit problems. If nothing else she cannot see that there is in fact violence in her photos. The Palestinian men whom she is so gleefully guarding have obviously suffered violence simply by being bound and blindfolded for resisting illegal occupation. In fact, these scenes scream violence to anyone who can see them within a context of an occupation which itself is violent on a daily basis – anyone who is aware of the Geneva conventions, UN resolutions, the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, plain human decency. Yet, that is the rub. Eden Abargil cannot see it. Why not?

Well, her problem might be a personal one. That is, she may be one of those small number of people found worldwide who are incapable of recognizing the difference between right and wrong. If so we can compare her to another young lady whose psyche might qualify for this condition. This woman was also in the military, but she is a 28 year old American. Her name is Lynndie England. She was one of 11 soldiers court marshalled in 2005 for the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib. Here too it was trophy pictures that exposed the smiling England romping among horribly abused captives. Ms England said that she was just following orders.

In the case of Eden Abargil there is yet another possibility. How can you tell if you have a behaviour problem or are simply misunderstood by outsiders, when you live in a community were decency deficiency is normal? After all, if Breaking the Silence, and other Israeli human rights organizations (whose memberships are quite small but collectively an important humane voice) are right, the taking of trophy pictures is “a widespread phenomenon, not an aberration caused by a single soldier”. In this regard it should be noted that the Israeli army appears upset with Abargil, whose action it has labeled “crude”, not because she had “the best time of my life” posing for such pictures, but because she was indiscrete enough to display them to the world via the web.

To clarify the above question, consider the environment in which Eden Abargil was born and raised. It is an environment in which most Israelis are taught from childhood that the world is against them. When informed that her Facebook postings might “injure Israel’s image in the international arena”, Abargil responded: “We shall always be attacked. Whatever we do, we shall always be attacked.” Many Israelis are convinced that the Palestinians are barbarians, “beasts walking on two legs”, who want to “push the Jews into the sea”.

The answer to this alleged threat is to convince the Palestinians that they are “a defeated people”. Yet they never seem to get this message and so Israel’s destructive power never gives its citizens the security they crave. On the other hand, many Israelis believe that to compromise with the enemy is to encourage them to keep trying to “push the Jews into the sea”. So they just continue on an illogical path of trying to humiliate the Palestinians into total surrender.

The majority of Israelis have this problematic worldview reinforced throughout their lives by their parents, their schoolmates and teachers, their friends and co-workers, and their compatriots in the military. They even get it from their rabbis. Under the circumstances it is very difficult to avoid the taint of racism. So, is Eden Abargil’s decency deficiency a personal problem, or is she simply an acculturated, “normal” member of a society that is collectively deficient of decency?

If it is the former, the answer might be therapy, parole of one year to live in an Arab-Israeli town, or just keeping Ms Abargil indefinitely away from guns and cameras. If it is the latter, the first step to a cure is the isolation of the entire Israeli society on the model used against apartheid South Africa.

Personally, I agree with Breaking the Silence. The problem goes beyond Eden Abargil. In fact she is only the latest public symptom of an indecent state and ideology (Zionism). For a long time both have done nothing but harm to the Jewish people and religion. It is for their sake, as well as for the long-suffering Palestinians, that the treatment of isolation must be attempted.

Lawrence Davidson is professor of history at West Chester University. He is the author of numerous books, including Islamic Fundamentalism and America’s Palestine: Popular and Official Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood.

August 22, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on A case of decency deficit: Israel’s sickness goes beyond one soldier and her Facebook pictures