Aletho News


Obama extends his Islamophobia to include Sikhs as well

By Ali Abunimah | October 19, 2010

US President Barack Obama has ruled out a visit to the Golden Temple in Amritsar, sacred to Sikhs, because Obama does not want to wear the head-covering that is required as a sign of respect in case it makes him look like a Muslim. From The New York Times:

But the United States has ruled out a Golden Temple visit, according to an American official involved in planning. Temple officials said that American advance teams had gone to Amritsar, the holy city where the temple is located, to discuss a possible visit. But the plan appears to have foundered on the thorny question of how Mr. Obama would cover his head, as Sikh tradition requires, while visiting the temple.

“To come to golden temple he needs to cover his head,” said Dalmegh Singh, secretary of the committee that runs the temple. “That is our tradition. It is their problem to cover the head with a Christian hat or a Muslim cap.”

Gawker, which drew my attention to the report, also quotes the Indian Express newspaper on efforts to come up with a “compromise” that would allow Obama to wear a baseball cap – a piece of head gear that would presumably not offend American racists back home:

The White House team which visited India last month ruled out Obama wearing the traditional scarf on his head. Indian officials were informally told that Obama wearing a headscarf to visit the Golden Temple may convey an image of him appearing to be a Muslim. This is one misinterpretation Obama’s advisors did not want at any cost, given the political sensitivities over this issue in the US.

And then:

Obama’s aides finally came up with the idea of a “modified” baseball cap. It would have to be modified because the Golden Temple does not permit a baseball cap instead of a headscarf. In fact, the temple authorities have no problems with skull caps.

As Giani Gurbachan Singh, head priest of the Golden Temple, puts it: “We have no problems if he wears a skull cap, the kind that Muslims wear to the mosque – or any other cap that is modified to something similar. But we don’t allow baseball caps or Army hats.”

It’s hard to imagine anything more insulting to his hosts than this. But of course Obama had absolutely no qualms about wearing a religiously-mandated head-covering when he visited the Wailing Wall, holy to Jews, in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem as part of his pandering to US Zionists and other racists when he was running for president, as the photo above from his July 2008 visit to Israel and occupied Jerusalem shows (The Guardian).

This is only the latest in a long line of incidents of Obama pandering to Islamophobia rather than standing up to it. During that same election campaign visit to Israel and Jordan, Obama  aides were instructed not to wear green clothing, as that is supposedly the color of Islam. Also during the campaign two Muslim women enthusiastically attending an Obama rally were required to move out of camera shot, so that the Post Racial candidate would not be pictured with them.

More recently, Obama has repeatedly failed  to stand up to Islamophobic incitement ginned up about the planned lower Manhattan Islamic Center and has basically hung American Muslims out to dry.

If Obama had refused to wear a kippah – the Jewish ritual head-covering – when he went to Jerusalem, and instead insisted on wearing a baseball cap, he would have been declared not only disrespectful, but anti-Semitic as well. Of course the whole point of going to Jerusalem was for the photo-op in order to buttress his pro-Israel credentials.

But in the current atmosphere of routine, endemic and escalating anti-Muslim incitement Obama has no fear of offending and denigrating Muslims. He also feeds racism against, and misunderstanding of Sikhs, whom racists often mistake for Muslims. Indeed this happened most tragically when Balbir Singh Sodhi, a 52 year-old Sikh man in Mesa, Arizona was shot five times and killed on September 15, 2001 by Frank Roque in “revenge” for the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Sikhs, along with Muslims and so many others, are just the latest to be thrown under Obama’s election campaign bus

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Islamophobia, Progressive Hypocrite | 2 Comments

New tourism law shows the more the Israeli narrative gets challenged, the greater need there is to enforce it

By Elinor Amit | Mondoweiss | October 19, 2010

A proposal for a new law has been submitted to the Israeli parliament which states that only Israeli citizens would be permitted to serve as tour guides in Israel (does “Israel” include the occupied territories? That’s not clear from the law), when the tour involves non-Israeli citizens. In essence, this law would put hundreds of East Jerusalemite tour guides out of work. The sponsors of the law explained their motivation and I think it speaks for itself:

“….Israel is investing a great effort in order to improve it’s image as a modern, western, democratic and free country… it is therefore important to assure that in order to avoid a damage to this investment, only those that had gone through an appropriate training and got license would be allowed to serve as guide tours.”

Apparently, according to the parliament members who introduced the law, Israeli citizenship is a necessary part of the training a person should go through in order to be qualified for this position.

The explanation goes on:

“There are numerous touristic sites in Israel… often there is a dispute on the way they should be presented in terms of history, religious, culture and more. The city of Jerusalem is an example for a site on which such a dispute exists. Some people that are Israeli residents, such as the residents of East Jerusalem, have many times a “double loyalty”, due to the fact that they vote for the Palestinian Authority. Those residents present some times anti-Israelis views to tourist. In order to assure that those foreign tourists would be exposed to the Israeli national views, it is suggested that the organizations that arrange tours will make sure that those tours would be accompanied by a guide tour who is an Israeli citizen, that has loyalty to the state of Israel. The need to protect the national interest of presenting Israel in an appropriate way is more important than (protecting) other interests.”

Thus, it seems that presenting Israeli as a Western democracy is more important to the law’s initiators, than actually making it one. Moreover, nobody seems to care or even to notice the sharp irony. In fact it looks like Israelis want to eat the cake and still keep it full: occupy the West bank, banish the Palestinians from their land, continue building in the West Bank, expel Palestinians that are Israeli citizens, define Israel as a Jewish state, and demolish the freedom of speech; but still be perceived as acting out of self defense, still be called a democracy, still continue the “peace talks” with the Palestinians, and still be part of the Western world.

The current law proposal is only one example for this dangerous trend. Other examples are the law of the Nakba, the boycott law, and the citizenship law. The picture that emerges from this collection is that Israel is on a slippery slope to becoming a totalitarian nationalist country, with limited freedom of speech, and racist transfer laws.

Even more concerning is the silence of the majority of Israelis that learn about those laws in the morning news. Last Saturday there were 6,000 people in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square, protesting against this new fascist trend. This is indeed an impressive number of protesters, but a negligible minority whose views are far left from the average. Just to demonstrate how far left they were, it is important to note that one of the tour guide law’s initiators was Illan Gilon – a member of the “leftist” Meretz party (although he later withdrew his endorsement). Apparently, this law does not seems extreme at all to the Israeli ear, even if the ear belongs to a left party.

Notably, here, as in the other proposed laws, the major concern seems to be the image of Israel in the world, and it’s potential exclusion from the “Western democracies”. An interesting question is, why this concern emerged suddenly?  Few years ago, when Mordechai Vanunu was released from prison, after serving long 20 years due to exposing the nuclear secrets of Israel, he was ordered not to speak with the foreign press. Vaanunu, in return, decided to speak only in English. As a result, he was sent back to prison. Sending Vanunu back to prison was, of course, not in order to achieve any concrete purpose — the foreign press did not need Vanunu to speak in English in order to know what he said. Not to mention that Vanunu did not have any new information to reveal about Israel’s nuclear power. Sending Vanunu back to prison was a desperate act to protect the belief in the lies Israelis have been telling themselves for over 60 years – about being the just, weak “David” that only protects itself from evil “Goliaths”. Thus, it is an internal action of protecting the self-image, as much as it is an external action of protecting the image of Israel in the world. The new law, just as sending Vaanunu to prison, expresses the realization that it is getting harder and harder to keep believing in this lie – and therefore there is a growing need to enforce it.

Elinor Amit is a post doctoral student in the psychology department at Harvard University. She moved to the US from Israel in 2008.

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Full Spectrum Dominance | Comments Off on New tourism law shows the more the Israeli narrative gets challenged, the greater need there is to enforce it

France arrests over 1,000 protesters

Press TV – October 19, 2010

Since the start of the week, French police have arrested close to 1,200 demonstrators protesting the French government’s proposed pension reforms.

The government’s interior ministry said that a total of 1,158 protesters have been arrested, 163 of them on Tuesday morning, AFP reported.

Police in Lyon arrested 56 people on Tuesday, including nine youths who reportedly overturned cars and set one on fire.

The Guardian reported that four policeman and one protester suffered minor injuries during the incident, and that the worst clashes occurred in the Paris suburb of Nanterre.

The General Confederation of Labour Union (CGT), which is calling for another day of action on Wednesday, says at least 3.5 million people have participated in the national strikes on Tuesday, while government and police figures put the numbers at half a million, Reuters reported.

More than 2,600 petrol stations have been shut down nationwide, as more than 47 crude oil and oil product tankers were unable to discharge at the port of Marseille due to striking port workers, Bloomberg said.

President Sarkozy responded to the national unrest following a summit with Russian and German leaders, and said, “In a democracy, everyone can express themselves but you have to do so without violence or excesses.”

“I will hold a meeting as soon as I return to Paris to unblock a certain number of situations, because there are people who want to work and who must not be deprived of petrol,” said Sarkozy, who was speaking in Deauville at a summit with the leaders of Russia and Germany.

France has been hit by several coordinated strikes in the past two months in opposition to the proposed pension reforms that would increase the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 and the full state pension age from 65 to 67.

Sarkozy has refused to back down from his pension reform bill, which is expected to pass through parliament by the end of the week.

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Solidarity and Activism | 1 Comment

Pletka’s Bogus ‘Axis of Evil 2′ Conspiracy Theory

By Ali Gharib  | Lobe Log | October 18th 2010

If someone is the Vice President of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at a prominent Washington think-tank, it’s fair to expect a certain level of scholarship. After all, these institutions are supposed to be influencing policy. In the case of the American Enterprise Institute, they just about ran foreign policy during George W. Bush’s first term.

Yet AEI’s Danielle Pletka, that very same think-tank vice president, continues to confound expectations. In her latest post on AEI’s Enterprise Blog, she offers conspiracy theories that obliquely revive former AEI fellow David Frum’s “Axis of Evil” phrasing, and backing them up with… not much. She ends with kicker designed to elicit fear, and links to an article that contradicts her whole point.

Pletka’s piece warns about the threat of a coalition between Russia, Iran and Venezuela. her headline quips: “Connect the Dots — But Don’t Call It an Axis of…”  She’s perhaps acknowledging that Iraq’s membership in the first “Axis of Evil,” and the subsequent disastrous war, makes the term politically ill-advised.

It’s a short post — just eight sentences — and her point is that Russia is going to help Venezuela open a nuclear power plant and possibly sell Hugo Chavez the S-300 air defense missiles that Iran was due to purchase (but didn’t when Russia, under U.S. pressure, backed out of the reportedly $800 million deal).

In light of Venezuela’s ties to Iran, Pletka is worried all this is very suspect, and Venezuela might ship the air defense missiles to Iran. “One might reasonably suspect that any weaponry headed for Caracas could easily find its way to Tehran,” is her endnote.

But then she links to a September 14th Fox News story about how a weekly Caracas-Damascus-Tehran flight has actually been canceled. The article, which cites an Iranian right-wing pseudonymous former CIA spy as a source, calls the flight path a “terror flight.”

It’s no wonder that one of Pletka’s former AEI researchers added his perspective on her scholarship to Andrew Sullivan’s Atlantic blog last year. The researcher’s job was “to provide specific evidence to support ready made assertions,” and describes Pletka’s work as the “academic equivalent of mad libs.” “The form is set by the neoconservative agenda, and she mobilizes a narrative that fills in the blanks to serve that agenda.”

Perhaps in her kicker, Pletka meant to demonstrate that such equipment has been “easily” transported before, at some previous time. Therefore, it can happen again. But that’s not what the link she supplied said: It said that there was a potential channel for equipment to move between Venezuela and Iran, but it’s been shut down.

It’s just like saying neoconservatives have before, at some previous time, led the country into a Middle East war with fuzzy facts and bellicose rhetoric. Unlike the “terror flight,” though, neocons are still at it.

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | 3 Comments

Hundreds of settlers storm Nablus, Bethlehem to perform Talmudic rituals

Palestine Information Center – 19/10/2010

NABLUS — Hundreds of Zionist fanatic settlers stormed the cities of Nablus and Bethlehem at dawn Tuesday to perform Talmudic rituals under protection of the Israeli occupation forces (IOF).

Eyewitnesses in Nablus reported that more than 600 settlers mounting several buses stormed the city from the eastern sector and performed their rituals at the Nabi Yusuf tomb.

They noted that Palestinian youths threw stones at the settlers and the IOF soldiers but no casualties or arrests were made in lines of those young men despite the intensive firing on the part of IOF sodliers of live bullets and teargas canisters.

The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) is seeking to include Nabi Yusuf in its list of Jewish heritage despite being inside Nablus city that is run by the Palestinian Authority, according to the Oslo agreements.

Hundreds of other settlers, meanwhile, stormed the mosque of Bilal Bin Rabah north of Bethlehem city and performed special rites before leaving the place escorted by IOF troops.

The IOA had announced the inclusion of Bilal Bin Rabah mosque in the list of Jewish heritage in a step described by Palestinians as a downright robbery of history and geography and a clear intent to endorse the occupation of the entire historical land of Palestine.

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation | 3 Comments

When will this conspiracy of silence end?

By Dr. Bouthaina Shaaban | MEMO | October 17, 2010

The recent and latest – but probably not the last – images of prisoners being abused by Israeli soldiers showed a blindfolded Palestinian woman trying desperately to avoid 21st century brutality in a prison cell with neither bars nor windows. As the seconds ticked by like an eternity it was clear that her body was trying to shrink into itself to avoid the monsters of the modern age, in the land of Jesus Christ, who danced around their victim.

Were the soldiers dancing to celebrate the kidnapping of an Arab girl whose only crime was to struggle for freedom from an illegal occupation? Or were they dancing to celebrate the fact that the international conscience, so vociferous about freedom and human rights in other parts of the world, is so very quiet when it comes to the Palestinians who have been oppressed by Western-backed Israel for more than sixty years?

Ihsan Dababseh’s story is only one of numerous daily stories in the lives of the eleven thousand Palestinian prisoners in the last apartheid regime in the world. Nevertheless, the ‘civilized’ world hardly remembers them, except when seconds of the suffering of one of them is leaked out. These are mere seconds of long years of torture and humiliation, without any protest on the part of the ‘free’ Western media, human rights organizations or the UN Human Rights Council, maybe fearing the fate of American anchor, Rick Sanchez, who was fired by CNN simply for saying that “Jews are not oppressed”.

As a result of Western governments and media collusion with Israeli government terrorism, Israeli soldiers have arrested more than 90 Palestinian children in one month. The youngest, aged 13, was taken out of his family home by court order.

Human rights groups have revealed more than once that Israeli soldiers attack female prisoner cells and force them to take off their clothes, subject them to humiliating inspections and force them to raise their hands from 9 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon.

Do Western politicians, who flatter Israeli war criminals like Benjamin Netanyahu, by calling Israel ‘an oasis of democracy’ know this? Why don’t the Americans spread freedom and human rights in Palestine instead of supporting and funding torture, murder and settlement? Or do they view Palestinians as they viewed red Indians in America and the aborigines in Australia as people without human rights and whose life is not equal to human life?

American and European silence towards these atrocious Israeli crimes, even their absolute support of the racist government in Israel gave Israeli soldiers and settlers a free hand to kill, torture and run over unarmed Palestinian civilians. Their crimes have exceeded manifold those committed by the Apartheid in South Africa. They even exceeded Nazi brutality. This was the testimony of holocaust survivor on boat Irene which tried to break the Gaza blockade. He said, “what I suffered in the holocaust is largely similar to the suffering of Palestinian children today”. This was also expressed by Amira Hass (Haaretz, 7 October 2010). She wrote, “Evidence? Explanations? Common sense? No need. They, after all, are paid a salary by the Israeli taxpayer in order to invent new kinds of punishment and torture. She adds, “today, the sense of shame has disappeared. Society’s backing is assured”.

On my part, I add that the sense of shame has disappeared because the silence of the ‘international community’ is assured, because none of the world leaders is ‘free’ any longer. They have become captive to the Israeli lobby which controls the Congress, the media and the election money. That is why no American or European leader, not even the United Nations, will ever condemn any crime against the Palestinians as long as the perpetrators are Israelis. Even when the victim of such aggression is the Nobel peace prize laureate, Mairead Corrigan-Maguire. The peace activist arrived in Gaza on board the ship Rachel Corrie (named after the young woman run over by Israeli bulldozers). When she returned to Bein-Gurion Airport days ago, she was detained by Israeli authorities in the same way they detained American thinkers Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein and Spanish artist Ivan Prado, secure in the knowledge that no one will dare criticize the Israeli apartheid regime for fear of being accused of anti-Semitism. Her crime was that several months ago she took part in a demonstration organized by the Bili’in villagers against the racist segregation wall and was twice on board ships to break the Gaza blockade.

The crimes committed with impunity by this racist entity against prisoners and peace, freedom, justice and human rights activists have gone so far largely because of the ‘silence’ of ‘democratic’ countries. It is true that Palestinian prisoners and activists are fighting for the freedom and dignity of the Palestinian people, but they actually embody the conscience of free people all over the world. Should we leave them in Israeli jails, as we left Nelson Mandela in the Apartheid prisons for decades, and wait until their release to turn them into icons of freedom and dignity? Or should we start immediately to work for releasing all prisoners and for enabling them to live in freedom and dignity with their families in their homeland?

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Subjugation - Torture | Comments Off on When will this conspiracy of silence end?

U.S. Media Hyper-Focused on Iranian Nuclear Program

Ali Gharib | Lobe Log | October 18th, 2010

Edward S. Herman and David Peterson posted an in-depth comparative study on the Monthly Review website about the U.S. media’s hyper-focus on Iran and its Iranian nuclear program, while ignoring other significant stories on nuclear possession and global events. The statistics will floor you — “astounding ratios,” the authors write.

Herman, a professor emeritus at UPenn’s Wharton School, and Peterson, an independent journalist, focus on the coverage of Iran’s disputed June 2009 election and the Honduran coup that followed a month later. Segueing into their piece, they summarize a previous MR article that surveyed press mentions for various nuclear programs. They wrote (with my emphasis):

A survey that we once published in MRZine of wire-service and newspaper reports’ focus on ten states’ nuclear programs for the seven-year period from 2003 through 2009 found that the amount of media attention paid to Iran’s dwarfed that of any of the other nine states (i.e., 36,778 print and wire-service items mentioning Iran’s nuclear program, compared to 6,237 for second-place India’s).  More strikingly, the ratio of media attention paid to Iran’s versus Israel’s nuclear program was 114-to-1 (92-to-1 on the pages of the New York Times) — astounding ratios, as Iran’s nuclear program has never been determined to be anything other than in accord with its Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations, while Israel steadfastly rejects joining the NPT, and remains the only state in the Middle East with nuclear weapons (perhaps 200-300) as well as the means of delivering them.2 Thus by the spring of 2009, with Iran’s June 12 presidential election fast approaching, Iran’s nuclear program had been kept on the agenda of major U.S.-dominated multilateral bodies and media for six consecutive years, and a harsh Western media and intellectual focus on its incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had accompanied this U.S. agenda since the time he took office in the summer of 2005.

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | Comments Off on U.S. Media Hyper-Focused on Iranian Nuclear Program

Lesley Stahl and the 7 pillars of conventional wisdom

By Joseph Glatzer | Mondoweiss | October 19, 2010

Lesley Stahl’s report from Sunday’s “60 Minutes” about the illegal Israeli colony “the City of David” is an unadulterated, albeit very sophisticated, piece of Peace Industry propaganda.  It is a case study for how the media sets the “appropriate” parameters of debate according to “conventional wisdom” of “serious people”.

She starts off the show with a cute intro about the holiness of Jerusalem:

Jerusalem is one of the holiest cities on Earth, for Jews, for Muslims and for Christians. It is also one of the most difficult issues at the negotiating table as Palestinians and Israelis struggle to continue the peace talks.

Conventional Wisdom #1: the current discussions between various members of the Peace Industry are a sincere/heart warming/Hallmark channel effort for peace.

What’s the challenge Lesley?

“The challenge is how to divide the city between the two sides. Back in 2000, then-President Clinton came up with some parameters for how to do it: areas populated mostly by Jews would remain Israeli; those populated mostly by Arabs would become the new Palestinian capital. That meant that for the most part East Jerusalem would go to the Arabs.”

Convention Wisdom #2: The challenge to peace is dividing Jerusalem between Palestinians and Israelis, and Clinton’s 2000 plan was the reasonable way to solve this challenge.

Conventional Wisdom #3: Acquisition of territory by aggressive force and settling a civilian population in occupied territory are OK if the US backs you. Only those who are un-serious outsiders could possibly expect the Geneva Conventions to be enforced.

Throughout the segment, Palestinians of Jerusalem are referred to as “Arabs” except when it is in reference to the Palestinian state. What’s insidious about the report is that even when seemingly criticizing Israel, the criticisms are only around the edges and they only serve to reinforce Peace Industry propaganda.

This brings in Conventional Wisdom #4: Palestinians are “Arabs” until they are lifted up as Proud Palestinians upon peacefully negotiating their way to their glorious state of Palestine.

Another problem is an inconvenient truth: that biblical Jerusalem is not located in the western half of the city. It’s right under the densely populated Arab neighborhood of Silwan.

Silwan isn’t a Palestinian neighborhood, it’s an “Arab neighborhood”. Just like Baghdad, Beirut, and Amman are Arab neighborhoods.  Who can tell the difference these days?

But, when referencing a future Palestinian state, Palestinians get to be called Palestinians:

Palestinian Jawad Siyam was born in this “very, very special place” and says he can trace his roots there back 930 years. He’s pessimistic about the Palestinians ever having their own state. “What will happen to this village if there’s a two-state solution?” Stahl asked

Conventional Wisdom #5: Palestinians have an ancient heritage in East Jerusalem. As far as West Jerusalem goes, that’s the Israeli side, and Palestinians have absolutely no claims or rights on that land.

Here’s another passage loaded with conventional wisdom and brainwashing:

The Arabs say it’s a provocative thing to do. Devout Jews Yonatan and Devorah Adler live in one of the houses El’Ad bought. El’Ad has raised tens of millions of dollars, half from the United States, and buys the homes on land the Palestinians claim for a future state.

Conventional Wisdom #6: Palestinian land isn’t really Palestinian land. It’s only a “claim” among many competing claims. To assert that one claim has more validity than another is “biased” and must never be spoken of.

Here’s Lesley Stahl talking to religious settlers living in the City of David colony:

“And yet, when you see those maps, it’s over in the Palestinian side,” Stahl pointed out.

“Yeah, well, maps are written on paper. This is written on our hearts,” he replied.

To the untrained eye, Stahl seems to be doing a good job of reflecting the insanity of the Zionist project. But take a second look. Criticism of Israel is allowed only if the underlying premise reinforces Peace Industry conventional wisdom.  In this case it’s that East Jerusalem is the “Palestinian side” (the as yet uncolonized parts) and West Jerusalem is the Israeli side.

“The government pays for the gun guards?” Stahl asked.

“It’s tax money. It’s, I pay it. Everyone who is paying taxes is paying it,” Jawad Siyam replied.

“You pay taxes and that money goes to pay for the guards to guard the settlers,” she remarked.

“Yes, of course,” Jawad said.

“So you’re helping guard the settlers,” Stahl remarked.

“Yeah, I’m a fan of the settlers and the gun guards,” he replied sarcastically.

Another seemingly positive exchange which shows that Palestinians of Jerusalem pay for their own oppression through their taxes. But, look closer. Are the Palestinians Israeli citizens? Then why do they pay taxes to the Israeli government? Was there some sort of illegal unrecognized annexation of East Jerusalem? Not for “60 Minutes” to say.

The implication given is that Palestinians living under the Israeli government is the natural state of affairs. It’s timeless and just is.  It would of course be biased to point out that East Jerusalem Palestinians have no political rights to vote in the governmen that they pay taxes to.

More he said/she said “journalism” comin atcha!

That feeling of Jewish encroachment has been heightened by the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, who is doing all he can to make sure East Jerusalem remains under Israeli sovereignty. He wants to create a Bible-themed garden and turn it into a tourist park adjacent to the City of David. But as with the dig, the local Arabs see this as another attempt to gobble up their side of Jerusalem.

Remember, it’s “Jewish encroachment” not land theft by a government which happens to call itself the “Jewish State”. The legitimate “Jewish-ness” of that State behind the green line is thus reinforced, yet again.

“Local Arabs” “see” a plan to build a tourist park right on top of their heads as an attempt to “encroach” upon their rightful and legitimate part of Jerusalem (and only that part, shut up about the parts your grandparents were kicked out of).  Who are these “local Arabs”? Are there also “local Jews”? Who knows if this is really a land grab.

“Building the mayor’s park requires demolishing 22 Arab homes in Silwan.”

Presumably “local” Arabs. Is there any context to the situation? Has the Israeli government demolished any Palestinian homes in the past? Not sure. Although it would be helpful in evaluating the validity of Israeli claims, context is biased so it mustn’t be spoken of. That would be taking a “side”.

“The mayor says that area is a slum in which the houses were built illegally and his plan will fix that. But the locals want to stay in their homes.” (pictures flash on the screen of Palestinian slums).

How did these areas get to be slums? Was it the result of extreme racism in allocating development funds for everything from trash collection to school buses? That’s a secret. Again with the “locals”. How local are they? Where are they locally from? Is this the locals’ indigenous “locale”?  I told you I don’t know, stop asking me silly questions.

Here comes my favorite part:

“The European Union, the United Nations has criticized this plan to get rid of these 22 homes. Public opinion, especially while the peace talks are underway, is looking at this and saying you’re trying to get rid, move Arabs out of Jerusalem,” Stahl said.

Is this plan illegal? Is it a war crime? Has it been Israeli policy for decades? What does the law say? I don’t know about that, but all I know is the EU and the UN “criticized” the plan during “peace talks”.

“But that’s the way it looks. And my question is, why not wait until the peace talks are settled?” Stahl asked.

Is this really a plan to “move out the locals”, or is it just the way “it looks” to Lesley Stahl? This is clearly not a relevant question. The only relevant question here is: WHY CAN’T HE JUST WAIT!?

Asked what she meant by “why now,” Stahl said, “Because it’s on the table at the peace talks. That’s why now.”

Does this mean Lesley Stahl believes it’s best to wait to wait and steal more Palestinian land til Abu Mazen formally surrenders Silwan to Israel in the fake state solution? And here comes the money shot:

“Settlements have been a stumbling block in peace negotiations of the past. And what your organization is dedicated to doing could become the stumbling block again,” Stahl told Doron Spielman.

Conventional Wisdom #7: Settlements are the obstacle to peace.  It’s nothing else. Not refugees’ unrealistic expectation to return, not discrimination against Palestinians inside Israel, and not babies born stillborn at checkpoints. The only obstacle to peace is a few religious crazies in Jerusalem screwing it up for everyone.

“We are looking, Lesley, to go down and uncover history,” he replied. “If coming back to my home after 3,000 years is a stumbling block to peace then I think that that is not a very good peace.”

If given the chance, a Palestinian would say, “If coming back to my home after 60 years is a stumbling block to peace then I think that that is not a very good peace.”

Why weren’t these dueling “rights of return” contrasted against each other? More importantly, why don’t I see the segment as a step forward for explaining the Palestinian plight, and why do I have to keep ruining the fun?  I guess I’m just a hopeless cynic.

October 19, 2010 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | 5 Comments