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Conspiracy vs. Facts: Who killed JFK?

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | November 22, 2013

In all the media coverage of the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, with its predictably misleading analysis of the attendant conspiracy theories, there are a few intriguing facts that you are unlikely to read.

Fact #1: When John F. Kennedy demanded in a personal letter dated May 18, 1963 that David Ben-Gurion end Israel’s nuclear weapons program — considered by one leading Israel advocate in a 2010 Jerusalem Post op-ed to be “necessary to ensure Jewish survival in a very hostile world” — the Israeli Prime Minister “abruptly resigned” in order to avoid answering.

Fact #2: Kennedy’s alleged lone assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, was assassinated by Jacob Rubenstein, whose rabbi recently told The Jewish Daily Forward that he thinks Ruby told him when he visited the mobster from Chicago the next day in jail, “I did it for the Jewish people.”

Fact #3: Oliver Stone’s conspiratorial “JFK” movie was produced by Arnon Milchan, described in a 2011 biography as “one of the most important covert agents that Israeli intelligence has ever fielded,” who according to recently declassified FBI files played a key role in the stealth acquisition of U.S. nuclear triggers by the Middle East’s sole albeit “unmentionable” nuclear power.

An article in today’s Guardian by the head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London, wonders:

At no point have more than 36% of Americans believed Kennedy was assassinated by a lone gunman. What is it about human psychology that makes conspiracy theories so appealing?

Perhaps it has something to do with many people’s healthy, well-founded skepticism of the media’s rather selective reporting of the facts. Or that no matter how many conspiracy theories they are prepared to discuss, journalists will rarely, if ever, look into the one conspiracy that might tell us who had the most to gain from Kennedy’s abrupt death 50 years ago today.

Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst. He is also the creator and editor of The Passionate Attachment blog, which focuses primarily on the U.S.-Israeli relationship. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter @O_Cathail.

November 22, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Israeli archive file shows that Israel’s founder tried to erase Palestinian Nakba

By Saed Bannoura | IMEMC & Agencies | May 18, 2013

A new report published in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz describes the information found in a newly-uncovered document in the government archives, which reveals that the first Israeli government, including the first Prime Minister David Ben Gurion, worked to re-write the history of Israel’s founding in 1948 to deny the fact that over 750,000 Palestinians were forcibly expelled.

The file, number GL-18/17028, was apparently missed by the Israeli military censor, who has sealed all other historical documents related to Israel’s creation in 1948. With the advent of historians like Benny Morris, who went through previously de-classified documents in detail and found strong evidence of massacres of Palestinians by Israeli armed militias as well as the forced expulsion of most of the indigenous population of Palestine in 1948, documents that had been de-classified were sealed again and remain so until today.

There are currently no guidelines or timeline as to when the documents will be unsealed. However, the one file that the government censor missed has a great deal within it on the Palestinian Nakba (catastrophe), the 65th anniversary of which was marked by Palestinians and their supporters just this past Wednesday.

According to the Ha’aretz expose, “what has been uncovered provides enough information to establish that in many cases senior commanders of the Israel Defense Forces ordered Palestinians to be expelled and their homes blown up. The Israeli military not only updated Ben-Gurion about these events but also apparently received his prior authorization, in written or oral form, notably in Lod and Ramle, and in several villages in the north.”

The file also contains information on the Israeli hasbara (propaganda) campaign that was launched after the expulsion of the Palestinians, to try to re-write what happened and deny that the Palestinian people were forcibly expelled. The Ha’aretz expose says that in the early 1960s, under pressure from the Kennedy administration in the U.S. to address the crisis of the Palestinian refugees, Ben Gurion held a special meeting at the U.N.

According to the authors, “Ben-Gurion was convinced that the refugee problem was primarily one of public image ‏(hasbara‏). Israel, he believed, would be able to persuade the international community that the refugees had not been expelled, but had fled.”

One of the lies promoted in the propaganda campaign of the early 1960s was a claim that Arab and Palestinian leaders encouraged the Palestinian people to flee during the 1948 Nakba. But the evidence contained in the one unclassified file does not support that claim. Instead, it was the massacres by Israeli militias in places like Deir Yassin, in which over one hundred men, women and children were lined up and shot, that made so many Palestinians fear for their lives and flee.

The rest of the documents on the subject, including government reports and military narratives, remain classified. Many of the original documents have also been destroyed by the Israeli government, some of which (according to researchers who read them) contained accounts of massacres, rapes, brutality and excessive violence that would have been embarrassing to the Israeli state, as well as calling into question the narrative that the Israeli government promotes and the history it teaches its children.

May 18, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Palestinian Nakba: The Young Will Never Forget

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | May 15 2013
The Nakba must not be assigned to the shelves of history.
The Nakba must not be assigned to the shelves of history

Many Palestinians remember and reference al-Nakba, also known as the Catastrophe, on May 15 every year. The event marks the expulsion of nearly a million Palestinians, while their villages were destroyed. The destruction of Palestine in 1947-48 ushered in the birth of Israel. Older generations relay the harsh and oppressive memory of their collective experience to younger Palestinians, many of whom live their own Nakbas today.

In covering al-Nakba, sympathetic Arab and other media play sad music and show black and white footage of displaced, frightened refugees. They rightly emphasize the concept of Sumud, steadfastness, as they show Palestinian of all ages holding unto the rusty keys of their homes and insisting on their right of return. Other, less sympathetic media discuss al-Nakba, if at all, as a side note – a nuisance in the Israeli narrative of a nation’s supposedly miraculous birth and its progression to an idyllic oasis of democracy. What such reductionist representations often fail to show is that while al-Nakba started, it never truly finished.

Those who underwent the pain, harm and loss of al-Nakba are yet to receive the justice that was promised to them by the international community. UN Resolution 194 states that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date” (Article 11). Those who wrought this injustice are also yet to achieve their ultimate objectives in Palestine. After all, Israel doesn’t have defined boundaries by accident.

David Ben Gurion, first Prime Minister of Israel, once prophesized that “the old (refugees) will die and the young will forget.” He spoke with the harshness of a conqueror. Ben Gurion carried out his war plans to the furthest extent possible. Every region in Palestine that was meant to be taken was captured, its people were expelled or massacred in their homes and villages. Ben Guiron ‘cleansed’ the land, but he failed to cleanse Israel’s past. Memory persists.

Ben Gurion referenced my own family’s village – Beit Daras – which witnessed three battles and a massacre. In an entry in his diaries on May 12, 1948, he wrote: “Beit Daras was mortared. Fifty Arabs (were killed). The (villages of) Bashit and Sawafir were occupied. There is mass exodus from nearby areas (neighbors in Majdal). We sustained 5 dead and 15 wounded. ” (War Diaries, 1947-1949).

More than fifty people were killed in Beit Daras that day. An old Gaza woman, Um Mohammed – who I discussed in my last book, My Father was a Freedom Fighter – refers to what is likely the same event:

“The town was under bombardment, and it was surrounded from all directions. There was no way out. The armed men (the Beit Daras fighters) said they were going to check on the road to Isdud, to see if it was open. They moved forward and shot few shots to see if someone would return fire. No one did. But they (the Zionist forces) were hiding and waiting to ambush the people. The armed men returned and told the people to evacuate the women and children. The people went out (including) those who were gathered at my huge house, the family house. There were mostly children and kids in the house. The Jewish (soldiers) let the people get out, and then they whipped them with bombs and machine guns. More people fell than those who were able to run. My sister and I…started running through the fields; we’d fall and get up. My sister and I escaped together holding each other’s hands. The people who took the main road were either killed or injured. The firing was falling on the people like sand. The bombs from one side and the machine guns from the other.”

Ben Gurion would not necessarily doubt Um Mohammed’s account. He candidly stated: “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves…politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves…The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country” (as quoted in Chomsky’s Fateful Triangle, pp. 91-2).

It is precisely for this reason that neither the old nor the young have forgotten. Every day is another manifestation of the same protracted al-Nakba that has lasted 65 years now. Young people’s hardships today are inextricably linked to the violent and horrific uprooting decades ago.

Al-Nakba has also remained an ongoing project through generations of Israeli Zionists. When Ben Gurion died in 1973, current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in his mid-twenties. He was then serving his last year in the Israeli army, and today he rules Israel with a coalition that includes almost three quarters of the Israeli parliament. Like most Israeli leaders, he continues to contribute to the very discourse by which Palestine was conquered. He speaks of peace, while his soldiers and armed settlers take over Palestinian homes and farms. He makes repeated offers to Palestinians for ‘unconditional’ talks, as he repeats his violent rejection of every Palestinian aspiration. His lobby in Washington is much stronger than ever before. He reigns supreme, as he continues to fulfill the ‘vision’ of early Zionists.

Old keys and deeds of stolen lands attest to the intergenerational experience that is Al-Nakba. Today Palestinians continue to be herded behind military checkpoints. They are denied the right to proper medical care, and their ancient olive trees are ruthlessly bulldozed. What Israel has not been able to control, however, is the resolve of Palestinians. The prison, the checkpoint and the gun reside in our collective memory in a way that cannot be held captive, controlled, or shot.

In fact, al-Nakba is not a specific date or an estimation of time, but the entirety of those 65 years and counting. The event must not be assigned to the shelves of history, not as long as refugees are still refugees and settlers continue to rob Palestinian land. As long as Netanyahu speaks the language of Ben Gurion, other ‘catastrophic’ episodes will follow. And as long as Palestinians hold on to their keys and deeds, the old may die but the young will never forget.

– RamzyBaroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

May 16, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lebanon: ‘Arab Spring benefits Israel only’

Rehmat’s World | June 8, 2012

In June 2006, both US secretary of state, Conoleeza Rice, and Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, unveiled the notorious anti-Muslim plan (New Middle East) for reshaping the map of the Middle East. The plan called for first creating instability, chaos, and violence within Muslim nation-states (Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Sudan and Egypt) and then using ‘humanitarian military invasions’ to divide those countries – to make sure they never pose a threat to the Zionist entity.

Lebanon has always been a target of Zionists’ dream of a ‘Eretz Israel’. Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben Gurion, had a vision of creating an Israeli-controlled Maronite Christian state along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon and steal water from the Litani River for the newly established Jewish settlements.

“This is the time, he (Ben Gurion) said, to push Lebanon, that is, the Maronites in that country, to proclaim a Christian State…”, wrote Moshe Sharett in his personal Diary in 1954. The tactics, Sharett writes, were Gen. Moshe Dayan’s:

“According to him (Dayan), the only thing that’s necessary is to find an officer, even just a major. We should either win his heart or buy him with money, to make him agree to declare himself the savior of the Maronite population. Then the Israeli army will enter Lebanon, will occupy the necessary territory, and will create a Christian regime which will ally itself with Israel. The territory from the Litani southward will be totally annexed to Israel…”

The so-called ‘Arab Spring’ was cooked-up during a meeting in New York city by the CIA, Mossad and several Zionist Jewish heads of  social networking sites to implement the ‘New Middle East’ project.

Lebanon’s interior minister, retired Maj. Gen. Marwan Charbel (a choice of country’s Christian president Gen. Michel Suleiman) in a recent interview with RT has claimed that the Zionist entity is the only country which has benefited from the Arab Spring.

“The Arab Spring has born no fruit for any of the affected countries, so the ongoing process should rather be called “the Israel Spring”, since no country now poses a threat to Israel. External forces seek to divide and weaken all the countries surrounding Israel in order to ensure that state’s security,” said Marwan.

June 10, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Lebanon: ‘Arab Spring benefits Israel only’

Dire Nakba memories live by the day

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | May 14, 2012

Many Palestinians remember and reference al-Nakba, also known as the Catastrophe, on May 15 every year. The event marks the expulsion of nearly a million Palestinians, while their villages were destroyed.

The destruction of Palestine in 1947-48 ushered in the birth of Israel. Older generations relay the harsh and oppressive memory of their collective experience to younger Palestinians, many of whom live their own Nakbas today.

In covering al-Nakba, sympathetic Arab and other media play sad music and show black and white footage of displaced, frightened refugees. They rightly emphasize the concept of Sumud, steadfastness, as they show Palestinian of all ages holding unto the rusty keys of their homes and insisting on their right of return. Other, less sympathetic media discuss al-Nakba, if at all, as a side note – a nuisance in the Israeli narrative of a nation’s supposedly miraculous birth and its progression to an idyllic oasis of democracy. What such reductionist representations often fail to show is that while al-Nakba started, it never truly finished.

Those who underwent the pain, harm and loss of al-Nakba are yet to receive the justice that was promised to them by the international community. UN Resolution 194 states that “the refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date” (Article 11). Those who wrought this injustice are also yet to achieve their ultimate objectives in Palestine. After all, Israel doesn’t have defined boundaries by accident.

David Ben Gurion, first Prime Minister of Israel, once prophesized that “the old (refugees) will die and the young will forget.” He spoke with the harshness of a conqueror. Ben Gurion carried out his war plans to the furthest extent possible. Every region in Palestine that was meant to be taken was captured, its people were expelled or massacred in their homes and villages. Ben Guiron ‘cleansed’ the land, but he failed to cleanse Israel’s past. Memory persists.

Ben Gurion referenced my own family’s village – Beit Daras – which witnessed three battles and a massacre. In an entry in his diaries on May 12, 1948, he wrote: “Beit Daras was mortared. Fifty Arabs (were killed). The (villages of) Bashit and Sawafir were occupied. There is mass exodus from nearby areas (neighbors in Majdal). We sustained 5 dead and 15 wounded. ” (War Diaries, 1947-1949).

More than fifty people were killed in Beit Daras that day. An old Gaza woman, Um Mohammed – who I discussed in my last book, My Father was a Freedom Fighter – refers to what is likely the same event:

“The town was under bombardment, and it was surrounded from all directions. There was no way out. The armed men (the Beit Daras fighters) said they were going to check on the road to Isdud, to see if it was open. They moved forward and shot few shots to see if someone would return fire. No one did. But they (the Zionist forces) were hiding and waiting to ambush the people. The armed men returned and told the people to evacuate the women and children. The people went out (including) those who were gathered at my huge house, the family house. There were mostly children and kids in the house. The Jewish (soldiers) let the people get out, and then they whipped them with bombs and machine guns. More people fell than those who were able to run. My sister and I…started running through the fields; we’d fall and get up. My sister and I escaped together holding each other’s hands. The people who took the main road were either killed or injured. The firing was falling on the people like sand. The bombs from one side and the machine guns from the other.”

Ben Gurion would not necessarily doubt Um Mohammed’s account. He candidly stated: “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves…politically we are the aggressors and they defend themselves…The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country” (as quoted in Chomsky’s Fateful Triangle, pp. 91-2).

It is precisely for this reason that neither the old nor the young have forgotten. Every day is another manifestation of the same protracted al-Nakba that has lasted 64 years now. Young people’s hardships today are inextricably linked to the violent and horrific uprooting decades ago.

Al-Nakba has also remained an ongoing project through generations of Israeli Zionists. When Ben Gurion died in 1973, current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was in his mid-twenties. He was then serving his last year in the Israeli army, and today he rules Israel with a coalition that includes almost three quarters of the Israeli parliament. Like most Israeli leaders, he continues to contribute to the very discourse by which Palestine was conquered. He speaks of peace, while his soldiers and armed settlers take over Palestinian homes and farms. He makes repeated offers to Palestinians for ‘unconditional’ talks, as he repeats his violent rejection of every Palestinian aspiration. His lobby in Washington is much stronger than ever before. He reigns supreme, as he continues to fulfill the ‘vision’ of early Zionists.

Old keys and deeds of stolen lands attest to the intergenerational experience that is Al-Nakba. Today Palestinians continue to be herded behind military checkpoints. They are denied the right to proper medical care, and their ancient olive trees are ruthlessly bulldozed. What Israel has not been able to control, however, is the resolve of Palestinians. The prison, the checkpoint and the gun reside in our collective memory in a way that cannot be held captive, controlled, or shot.

In fact, al-Nakba is not a specific date or an estimation of time, but the entirety of those 64 years and counting. The event must not be assigned to the shelves of history, not as long as refugees are still refugees and settlers continue to rob Palestinian land. As long as Netanyahu speaks the language of Ben Gurion, other ‘catastrophic’ episodes will follow. And as long as Palestinians hold on to their keys and deeds, the old may die but the young will never forget.

May 15, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Comments Off on Dire Nakba memories live by the day

Time for a change!

By Mazin Qumsiyeh | Popular Resistance | May 5, 2012

Palestinian political prisoners illegally held in Israeli jails are on hunger strike and some are near death. The population of strikers includes 200 child prisoners, 27 Palestinian legislative council members, and 456 prisoners from Gaza who have not been allowed family visits since 2007 [1]. Meanwhile, colonization continued at a relentless pace. Ramzy Baroud and Jeff Halper argue that Israel is “fixing” the outcome and is an “end-game” scenario to take over most of the West Bank and leave us in small cantons [2]. Yet, judging from my research into the carefully planned Zionist project, such plans are not end games but mileposts to give the Zionists time to consolidate gains in preparation for the next round of expansion in precisely the way Ben Gurion described it to his son in 1937. Ben Gurion explained lucidly how the new state of Israel when established on part of the coveted land would be a base of steady expansion and growth in the future with or without agreement from “Arabs” [3]. I pondered how little has changed in the intervening 75 years.  Colonial Israel continues to push the envelope and expand with or without agreement from compliant “Arabs”. Compliant Arabs existed in 1937 (headed by Ragheb Al-Nashashibi) and existed in 1967 and in 2012. There also existed intellectual and honest Arabs throughout our history.

Zionist colonization is not driven by emotion or haphazard action.  It is done as instructed by the founding father of Political Zionism Theodore Herzl in 1897: “we must investigate and take possession of the new Jewish country by means of every modern expedient.” Modern expedients advocated by Herzl include planned methodical structure to remove the native people (with or without agreement of some Arabs) and create a large Jewish state. Herzl was not specific on size of the “required estate” but Ben Gurion and people of his era thought it possible to go as far as between the Nile and the Euphrates.

The plans of colonizers are remarkably similar and known from the diaries of Herzl in 1897, from the letter from Ben Gurion to his son in 1937, the Allon plan of 1967, and from the Hebron accords of 1997. It is a plan of expansion without some Arabs consenting or occasionally with agreement from some Arabs. These agreements, like the treaties that some Native Americans signed with the government of the United States in its expansionary phase, were and are violated because they are merely consolidation tools [4]. I think that like these Native American chiefs, some Palestinians thought that they are doing the best they could under difficult circumstances. Most of the Native American “leaders” had no concept or understanding of the true nature of the notions and emotions driving the Westward expansion of the white colonialists in the USA.  They did not delve deeply into notions of manifest destiny, choseness, and racism that characterize their oppressors. One could say the ideology of Native Americans exhibited the exact opposite of their colonizers and thus they presumed that whites are ultimately human and could be dealt with as equals.

Peace for natives is to get their freedom, to live in dignity, and most of all to get the boot of colonization off our necks. Peace for the colonizers is to have the victim stop wiggling under their boots. Towards this they devised ingenious plans including a Palestinian Preventive Security force. Any rational human being can see this dictation and imbalance of power in daily news. Thus the people are left out of decisions whether on “negotiations”,  on “national reconciliation”, on going and not going to the UN, or on how they may eventually be liberated. Despairing and riding a ship without compass or rudder, the people grumble and boil underneath and later erupt in revolt.

Needs and desires of the colonizers and the colonized are not the same.  Occupiers and colonizers want more opportunities to progress via consolidation and strengthening of the status quo and allowing them to expand further.   We, the occupied and colonized people, want to halt and eventually reverse the process of injustice.  Palestinians want to return to our homes and lands and live peacefully as we did for millennia.   We insist on return and self-determination.  We insist that the country must remain multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-cultural.  This is not a border dispute nor is it a quibble over the Israeli illegal control of the religious sites.  Like in the struggle in South Africa under apartheid, it is a struggle that pits two very different visions of the area: one of racism and apartheid and the other of justice and equality.

Sporadic acts of heroic popular resistance are not enough to reach peace with justice.  Coordination and joint action must take place.  What hinders it is a system developed by the occupiers and agreed to by some of the occupied people. Personal economic benefit maintains the status quo. What is done with support from a Palestinian authority is nothing short of making this occupation the most profitable in history (several billion dollars flow annually to Israeli coffers as a result of this occupation).  Already Israeli and Palestinian business deals are being executed for example in area C.  This is the “economic peace plan” of Netanyahu and others. Those who may think of disrupting the status quo are investigated and punished.  Most Palestinians are excellent diagnosticians and have figured this out. But I think many have not started to articulate solutions or ideas to get out of this mud hole that the Oslo Process (actually started with the 10 point program in 1974) put us into. It is not going to be easy and it does require sacrifice. But those delusional individuals who think that they have a salary or a position and they do not want to risk rocking the boat should think again. They should think of how their children or grandchildren would live under a system of racism and oppression.  This is as true of Israelis as it is true of Palestinians.

Boycotts, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) give us hope.  Shimon Peres, the architect of Israel’s arsenal of Weapons of Mass Destruction and a war criminal once explained:

“In order to export you need good products, but you also need good relations… [If] Israel’s image gets worse, it will begin to suffer boycotts. There is already an artistic boycott against us and signs of an undeclared financial boycott are beginning to emerge.”

International figures who worked against apartheid in South Africa argued convincingly of why this can help here in Apartheid Israel [5]. But BDS is only a tool and certainly not sufficient to effect the needed change. There has to be a structured program from the people which includes an articulation of a vision with concrete goals for the future.  In my book “Sharing the Land of Canaan” in 2004 I argued for precisely such a program to move from apartheid to a state of all its citizens. These notions have gained widespread acceptance among intellectuals and activists of various religious and political backgrounds. To arrive to this vision, we need organization.

Organization requires visionary leadership arising organically from a maturing rising population. We should not be reluctant to push our existing leaders and if they are not willing to move then to create alternative leadership. ALL Factions have aging and non-innovative leadership and ALL factions have younger energetic and dedicated (but marginalized) individuals. Clearly the status quo is devastating for us and cannot last. We know from history that people will rise-up and DEMAND change.

Is it time for varied voices to coalesce into a thunderous uproar that cannot be ignored? May we organize meetings and discuss publicly the path forward? While many for example discussed the failure of the “two state solution” and some articulated future visions, we need more than that. Can we as a people in 1948 areas, in the West Bank and Gaza and in exile create mechanisms and structures that take us to where we decide to go?  Can we convince the world and even Israelis that we are serious about working for a future of peace with justice and prosperity for everyone? Voices of negativism must not dominate this critical stage. This conversation must be open to people of goodwill from all factions and from independents. While it must start among Palestinians, we must later involve our trusted supporters from around the world. We do have the resources: financial, intellectual, emotional, and physical. Let those who have skills in organizing organize and those who have skills in media work do media work. Let those who have skills in social networking do that. Those who have skills in music write songs for the revolution. Imagine if we can get even 5% or even 1% of the Palestinians around the world as participants in an organized effort. The change that could happen can be monumental.

The world today only respects those who respect themselves and struggle for their own rights. We have nothing to be ashamed of as Palestinians even though 7 million of us are refugees or displaced people.  We have a lot to be proud of from our history [6]. We cannot give up now that the crisis of Palestine weighs on the world conscience and when the Arab spring could change the whole geopolitical reality of the Middle East.  Even if we fail at our goal this time, the positive spirit that results would enrich all our lives. It would unleash the creativity and the energy that we know is in us.   Change can and must happen because it ours is an existential struggle for 11.5 million Palestinians in the world and for our children and grandchildren born and unborn. Each of us has a role to play and has skills and other resources to contribute. Even if we start slow and among a few individuals, it will grow because we have no other choice. Let us get on with it.

[1] http://www.alhaq.org/documentation/weekly-focuses/569-palestinian-prisoners-near-death

[2] Ramzy Baroud- Israel plots an end-game http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2012/05/03/illegal-settlements-bonanza-israel-plots-an-endgame/, Jeff Halper http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/04/2012428124445821996.html but see also Susan Abulhawa’s reply to Jeff Halper http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=19274#.T6RigYJSHIA.twitter

[3] Ben Gurion letter to his son, sent October 5, 1937  http://www.palestine-studies.org/files/B-G%20Letter%20translation.pdf

[4] The Oslo accords were an excellent tool by Israel to consolidate its hold and in violations of the Geneva conventions allowed Israel “civil control” in >60% of the West Bank called area C.  In further negotiations it was leaked how much people like Saeb Erekat were willing to keep going in handing over these areas to Israel http://www.aljazeera.com/palestinepapers/

[5] Desmond Tutu on the need for Divestment from Israeli apartheid http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/columns/justice-requires-action-to-stop-subjugation-of-palestinians/1227722

[6] “Popular Resistance in Palestine: A history of Hope and Empowerment” http://www.qumsiyeh.org/popularresistanceinpalestine/

May 7, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Comments Off on Time for a change!

Netanyahu’s Role in Crafting the “Strategic Asset” Myth

By Maidhc Ó Cathail | The Passionate Attachment | May 6, 2012

From the Cold War to the War on Terror, Israel and its partisans have stressed the Jewish state’s role as a strategic asset to the United States in the Middle East. A recent Haaretz article, however, provides further evidence that this claim is little more than a self-serving myth.

In the article titled “David Ben-Gurion’s diary invites a rethink of Benzion Netanyahu’s extreme Zionist image,” Israeli historian and journalist Tom Segev reveals that the current Israeli Prime Minister’s late father offered his propaganda services to Ben-Gurion’s government on at least two occasions. Writes Segev:

In 1956, Netanyahu proposed that Ben-Gurion employ him as a public diplomacy (hasbara) functionary, in the guise of a history professor, at one of the universities in America. He sought to work under the auspices of the Prime Minister’s Office, and tailor his activity to its policy.

Ben-Gurion’s diary notes Netanyahu’s experience in such “public diplomacy”:

He told of a series of meetings with American statesmen, among them Dean Acheson, who had been secretary of state in the Truman administration. It seems that he spoke with them primarily about the danger of Soviet penetration of the Middle East.

The diary doesn’t record whether or not Netanyahu got the job, but from 1957 to 1968 he worked as a professor in Dropsie College in Philadelphia. If his 1956 propaganda proposal had been turned down, it certainly didn’t deter him from trying again:

In June 1968 Netanyahu paid another visit to Ben-Gurion, by then in retirement, and once again proposed a plan for Israeli propaganda in America. We must take action against the American left, he said referring to what was then called the New Left. Almost all are communist Jews, Netanyahu told Ben-Gurion, and once more proposed concentrating Israeli propaganda on the danger of Soviet penetration of the Mideast: If the Soviet Union takes over the Middle East, it will control the United Nations, he suggested arguing, and praised two of the Israel supporters he had found on the right flank of the Republican Party: Barry Goldwater and Richard Nixon.

But if Israel really had been such an obvious strategic asset to the U.S. during the Cold War, there wouldn’t have been any need for Netanyahu and other hasbara agents to remind the Americans of Israel’s usefulness in countering “the danger of Soviet penetration,” would there?

May 6, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Palestinians: The Forgotten People

By William James Martin | Palestine Chronicle | April 24th, 2012

It is impossible to understand the present Palestinian/Israeli conflict without understanding the past, in particular, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine by Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe, who are not Semitic people, but indigenous to Eastern Europe.

In 1900, there were no Ashkenazi Jews living in Palestine; essentially none, that is, but a few, small mostly temporary Russian Jewish settlers, not totally unusual for various cults in the Holy Land at that time. Theodore Herzl, frequently designated ‘The Father of Modern Zionism’, because of the publication of his book, The Jewish State, in 1996, and because of the founding of the World Zionist Congress a year later,  stated in 1897:

[We shall] spirit the penniless population across the frontier by denying it employment. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discreetly and circumspectly.

Thus the concept of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians was introduced.

By the 1930s, the ‘transfer’ of Arabs was the unanimous opinion of the founders of Israel. So-called transfer committees, headed by Joseph Weitz, Director of Land Management for the Jewish Agency, were set up explicitly for the purpose of studying ways of transferring Arabs out of Palestine.

At the beginning of 1948, despite 50 years of land purchases, Jews only owned 6% of the land of Palestine. By the year’s end, the Israeli army controlled 78% of Palestine in a process of ethnic cleansing that saw the destruction of 531 Arab cities or villages and 11 Arab urban areas, with massacres at almost all of those towns or villages, the almost complete looting of Palestinian property and wealth, including looting of banks, confiscation of Palestinian homes and property, businesses, fields and orchards.

The Palestinian people lost everything. Those who survived the massacres lost their careers, their means of livelihood, only to find refuge in tent cities set up by the United Nations which were later to become squalid refugee camps of cinder block buildings dotted around the Middle East.

By just checking the time line, one quickly disposes of the 60 year old Israeli propaganda myth that the state of Israel was innocently minding its own business when it was attacked by five armies of surrounding Arab states.

The ethnic cleansing of Palestinians began on November 30, 1947 in Haifa when the Jewish army under David Ben Gurion, along with the Jewish terrorist group, the Irgun, under Manachem Begin, began shelling the Arab sections of that city. In March of 1948, David Ben Gurion finalized and distributed Plan D to his officers, which was a program for destroying and depopulating Arab villages and eliminating any resistance. The massacre at the Arab village of Deir Yassin, only one of many, but possibly the most famous, occurred on April 9, 1948. Israel declared itself a state on May 14, 1948, and it was the next day, May 15, that the first regular soldier of an Arab army set foot in Palestine. By then, about half of the 800,000 Palestinian refugees had been generated and all of Palestine’s urban centers and been depopulated of Arabs.

One cannot understand the natural anger and resentment of the Arab people, and particularly the Palestinian people, toward Israel, and also to the West, for supporting their oppressors and for being blind to their own suffering, without coming to a full understanding of the catastrophe, which they call the Nakbah, that befell the Palestinian people in 1948.

Nor can one understand the futility of the exalted ‘peace process’, ongoing now for the last 22 years, concurrent with the further erosion of Palestinian rights and freedom, and migration of new Jewish settlers into the West Bank and East Jerusalem, without understanding that Israel acquired its present status as a state, not by negotiation with Palestinians, but by brute force and very much against the will of the indigenous people.

For the Arab people, Israel is an alien implant, imposed by western powers, in the heart of the Arab world against the will of the Arab people.

The Palestinians living under occupation have been living in that situation for 40 years, deprived of natural human rights, abused and, more often than not, humiliated, suffering degradation and humiliation on a daily basis, as their land and property and resources are daily confiscated by the state of Israel, who also winks at settler violence and looks the other way as settlers, who have built their settlement so hilltops, dump their sewage onto Palestinian farmland, as they also cut down their olive trees, burn their fields and poison or otherwise kill their livestock, in order to make way for more settlers and settlements as well as to make life as miserable as possible for the Palestinians.

Zionism is a political program of clearing Palestine of Palestinian Arabs in order to create the space for an exclusive Jewish state. As such, its goal is to destroy the Palestinians as a people with an identity as a people and with an attachment to the land of their births and the births of their ancestry. Such a project meets the definition of genocide in international law. Genocide is a crime against humanity as well as against its immediate victims. Genocide is a crime in which all of humanity is degraded.

William James Martin teaches in the Department of Mathematics at the University of New Orleans. He can be reached at: wjm20@caa.columbia.edu.

April 24, 2012 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Comments Off on Palestinians: The Forgotten People

Deir Yassin Day in London

By Paul Eisen* | Uprooted Palestinians | April 8, 2012

On April 23 in London, Deir Yassin Remembered and The General Union of Palestinian Students will be commemorating Deir Yassin Day 2012.

Deir Yassin Day commemorates the Deir Yassin massacre of April 9th 1948.

Not the only massacre at that time and by no means the worst, Deir Yassin signaled and has come to symbolise, the dispossession of the Palestinian people and their continuing exile.

April 23 is also the birthday of Miguel Cervantes creator of Don Quixote and of Roy Orbison creator of “Only the Lonely” – and a man who, just when you thought he could go no higher – up an octave he’d go. It’s also the birth- and death day of William Shakespeare – highly appropriate for a man known for his immaculate dramatic structure and pleasing endings.

But in England April 23rd is above all, St. George’s Day. St George is the patron Saint of England and strangely, St George was a Palestinian.

George hailed from the Palestinian town of Lydda, turned into an airport in 1948 and named Lod, and named again after the great ethnic-cleanser David Ben Gurion. Like Deir Yassin itself, the story of Lydda could serve as a template for all the expulsions and massacres of 1948.

At Deir Yassin the perpetrators massacred over a hundred villagers and burned their bodies. Others were loaded onto trucks and paraded through the streets of Jewish Jerusalem, then taken to a nearby quarry and shot. Orphaned children of Deir Yassin, dragged from under the bodies of their dead and dying relatives were taken and dumped, dazed and bleeding, in a Jerusalem alley.

At Lydda the Israelis massacred 426 men, women, and children; 176 slaughtered in the town’s main mosque and the remainder driven into exile. Forced to walk in the summer heat, they left behind them a trail of bodies – men, women and children. It was the Palestinians’ very own ‘Trail of Tears’.

And, just like at Deir Yassin, the town of Lydda was repopulated with Jewish immigrants, the name Hebraised to Lod and, like the name Deir Yassin, the name Lydda was wiped off the map.

At our commemoration DYR and GUPS will be joined by the Palestinian Delegation, the Palestinian community of the U.K. and many British and other supporters. We will also be joined by Abu Ashraf, now of Azaria but once of Deir Yassin – because in April 1948 Abu Ashraf lived in Deir Yassin and, on April 9th at the time of the massacre, was a few days short of his eighth birthday.

So, it’s fitting that our commemoration be held on April 23rd, St. George’s Day; in London, the capital of England, and led by Abu Ashraf of Deir Yassin.

* (With thanks to Stuart Littlewood)

April 8, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Deir Yassin Day in London

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe

Review by William Podmore

Pappe, an Israeli historian and a senior lecturer at Haifa University, has written a superb account of the Israeli expulsion of the Palestinians from their land in 1948. He quotes David Ben Gurion, leader of the Zionist movement from the mid-1920 until the 1960s, who wrote in his diary in 1938, “I am for compulsory transfer; I do not see anything immoral in it.” This contradicts the Zionists’ public claim that they were seizing a land without a people.

Pappe writes of the Israelis’ March 1948 plan for evicting the Palestinians, “The orders came with a detailed description of the methods to be employed to forcibly evict the people: large-scale intimidation; laying siege to and bombarding villages and population centres; setting fire to homes, properties and goods; expulsion; demolition; and, finally, planting mines among the rubble to prevent any of the expelled inhabitants from returning.”

Between 30 March and 15 May 1948, i.e. before any Arab government intervened, Israeli forces seized 200 villages and expelled 250,000 Palestinians. The Israeli leadership stated, “The principal objective of the operation is the destruction of Arab villages … the eviction of the villagers.” On 9 April, Israeli forces massacred 93 people, including 30 babies, at Deir Yassin. In Haifa, the Israeli commander ordered, “Kill any Arab you encounter.”

This all happened under British rule in Palestine, where Britain had 75,000 troops: Britain’s Mandate did not end until 14 May. The Labour government connived at the Israeli onslaught, although the British state was legally obliged as the occupier (and also by UN resolution 181) to uphold law and order. Yet the Labour government announced that it would no longer be responsible for law and order and it withdrew all the British policemen. It also forbade the presence of any UN bodies, again breaching the terms of the UN resolution. The government ordered British forces to disarm the few Palestinians who had weapons, promising to protect them from Israeli attacks, then immediately reneged on this promise.

On 24 May 1948, Ben Gurion wrote, “We will establish a Christian state in Lebanon, the southern border of which will be the Litani River. We will break Transjordan, bomb Amman and destroy its army, and then Syria falls, and if Egypt will still continue to fight – we will bombard Port Said, Alexandria and Cairo. This will be in revenge for what they (the Egyptians, the Aramis and Assyrians) did to our forefathers during Biblical times.” These ravings of an insane warmonger hardly betrayed any genuine fear of a `second holocaust’. The Palestinians were suffering massive expulsion, not trying to destroy the Jewish community.

Pappe summarises, “When it created its nation-state, the Zionist movement did not wage a war that `tragically but inevitably’ led to the expulsion of `parts of’ the indigenous population, but the other way round: the main goal was the ethnic cleansing of all of Palestine, which the movement coveted for its new state. A few weeks after the ethnic cleansing operations began, the neighbouring Arab states sent a small army – small in comparison to their overall military might – to try, in vain, to prevent the ethnic cleansing. The war with the regular Arab armies did not bring the ethnic cleansing operations to a halt until their successful completion in the autumn of 1948.”

Overall, the Zionist forces uprooted more than half of Palestine’s population, 800,000 people, destroyed 531 villages and emptied eleven urban neighbourhoods of their inhabitants. Pappe concludes that this was “a clear-cut case of an ethnic cleansing operation, regarded under international law today as a crime against humanity.”

New and used copies available in hardcover or paperback

January 4, 2012 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 4 Comments

Israeli Rejectionism

Book Review by Ludwig Watzal | Palestine Chronicle | September 24, 2011

(Zalman Amit/Daphna Levit, Israeli Rejectionism. A Hidden Agenda in the Middle East Peace Process, Pluto, London-New York, pp 208.)

After having negotiated for 20 years with different Israeli governments about a solution to the conflict in the Middle East, the Palestinian leadership is sick and tired of the charade that the U.S., the rest of the West and even the occupied Palestinians under the rule of Mahmud Abbas call “peace process”. Abbas asks the United Nations to grant the “State of Palestine” full membership status. The Israeli government fiercely opposes this move and so does the U.S. Since 1967, when Israel´s violations of international norms were brought before the UN Security Council time and again, the U.S. government has backed it off-hand. For the large majority of U.S. governments, Israel was always the “good guy” even after it attacked the USS liberty in the June war of 1967 in international waters off the shore of Israel and killed 34 US marines. At the question, who is responsible for the stalemate in the progress towards peace in the Middle East for the last 80 years, the book “Israeli Rejectionism” comes into play.

Already in the introduction of this book, the authors blame Israeli leadership for its rejectionist attitude towards peace. “Our position is that Israel was never primarily interested in establishing peace with its neighbors unless such a peace was totally on its own terms.” (11) According to the authors, Israel has repeatedly proclaimed its commitment to peace, but it´s real political strategy has been to thwart any real possibility of peace. It´s leadership has always been convinced “that peace is not in Israel`s interest”. As history shows, this holds true up till now. This peace-rejecting attitude neither evolved with the occupation of the rest of Palestine in 1967 nor with the establishment of the state in 1948 but can be traced back to the first Zionist leaders such as Theodor Herzl and especially David Ben-Gurion as the authors write. As [the] authors state: [it is] not Israel which lacks a viable “partner for peace”, as the Israeli propaganda tells the public, but it is the other way around: the Palestinians have no reliable “partner for peace”. To prove this fallacy, they run through a gamut of statements, starting from the slogan “Palestine – homeland for the Jews?” via “Barak leaves no stone unturned” to “Peace on a downhill slope”. On this journey, they find the peace-resistant party: the different governments of Israel.

This assertion by the authors runs counter to the propaganda promoted by Israeli hasbara and their friends in the U.S. and elsewhere. Both authors were initially true believers of the socialist Zionist cause serving the neophyte state within the kibbutz movement. Over many years, they were loyal followers of Zionist ideology. Zalman Amit particularly was a determined Zionist, who was even an emissary of the United Kibbutz Movement in Canada. There, he delivered sermons about the virtues of Zionism. At one of the Jewish jamborees, which he organized, he gave a speech in which he elaborated on the standard left-wing Zionist beliefs. After he finished, an Israeli friend who attend the gatherings for several days, asked him: “Do you really believe this?” So he explained to him that Ben-Gurion “never wanted peace”. The Zionist façade slowly cracked. Both authors engaged in the June war of 1967. After the Six Day War, they finally experienced their aha-experience regarding the reality of Zionism. At that time, they were already adults. At that junction, they realized how difficult it was to admit to themselves that they had entertained a pipe dream. Finally, they realized that Israel always was the side that sabotaged opportunities for peace with the Arabs. Moshe Dayan’s famous “telephone strategy” was an excuse for him to “do nothing”. Israel waited for a telephone call from the Arabs but the call never came!

Among many historians and politicians, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first Prime Minister, is highly regarded. But by the picture the authors draw of his policy, he seems as a mere rejectionist; he did everything to sabotage any compromise towards the Arab side. His policy, according to the authors, was to gain as much territory with a minimum of Arab inhabitants. As his writings show, transfer and expulsion were political options. When Israel together with France and Britain conquered the Sinai in 1956, he talked about the “Kingdom of Israel” encompassed biblical boundaries, but he also avoided any concrete commitment where Israel´s normal boarders should run. One day, before the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel was made, the question of borders arose in a meeting of Zionist politicians. Ben-Gurion, according to the protocol, said this should be left to “developments”, a euphemism for further conquest. Up to this day, the Israeli leadership won’t tell where Israel’s exact borders should run. The authors show that former Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser started several peace initiatives but to no avail. The Zionist leadership was not interested in them and depicted him “as an enemy of the State of Israel”. Ben-Gurion also plotted against his successor Moshe Sharett. He was also a driving force in the 1956 conspiracy against Egypt with the colonial powers of France and Britain to overthrow Nasser in the war of 1956. Although this assault was militarily successful, it turned out to be a Pyrrhic victory, especially for Ben-Gurion. In the UN Security Council, the US tried to condemn Israel as the aggressor. For the first time, Britain and France cast their veto against the US. Massive pressure from the Eisenhower administration led to the withdrawal of all occupying forces from Egyptian territory. Ben-Gurion’s “Third Kingdom of Israel” was short-lived, it just lasted for four days.

Between the Israeli attacks in 1956 and 1967 there have been a number of military encroachments and Israeli provocations against its Arab neighbors, such as on the Golan and against Gaza. After the June war of 1967 Ben-Gurion’s dream came true. Israel had captured land for which it claimed “biblical entitlement“. According to the authors, all of Israel’s leadership were “intoxicated“ by this achievement of “messianic dimensions“. In this mode of “drunken euphoria“ even self-proclaimed doves like Abba Eban referred to the armistice boundaries as the “Auschwitz lines“, and the nationalist Menachem Begin called for outright annexation of the  West Bank and Gaza. The authors show that the Israeli government started right away with its colonial project by evacuating and destroying the Mugraby neighborhood adjacent to the Wailing Wall. Yigal Alon drafted at that time his famous “Allon Plan“, which still serves as a blueprint for Israel’s expansionist policies.

According to the authors – Zalman Amit and Daphna Levit – there are no major differences between Labor-, Kadima-, or Likud-led governments regarding colonization of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). It is only a matter of rhetoric that divides the three political camps. Between the June war of 1967 and the Yom Kippur war in 1973 there have been several peace initiatives by President Nasser or his successor Anwar al-Sadat but Israel was only willing to make “peace“ according to its own terms. The “expansionist positions“ among Israel´s ruling political class continued as revealed by the “Galilee document” drafted by Prime Minister Golda Meir confident, Israel Galilee. “It was no conciliatory step towards peace, and reinforced the Egyptian and Syrian inclination to go to war.” (84)

Although the State of Israel had the upper hand, the sudden Yom Kippur war that dented the feeling of invincibility left Israel with a collective post-war trauma. Some Israeli politicians realized that the Middle East conflict cannot be solved by military means but only through a peace agreement. The reason why the peace process went nowhere lies, according to the authors, in the country’s unwillingness to give up the occupied territories and to recognize the national aspiration of the Palestinian people. The Israeli intransigence continued under the government of Menachem Begin, although he made peace with Egypt. After the fiasco in Lebanon, he was replaced by Yitzhak Shamir in 1983. Shamir “considered the only acceptable position for Israel was no retreat at all, and peace was not particularly high on his agenda“. (104) When Shamir was defeated by Yitzhak Rabin in the 1992 election, he made clear that “his intention was to drag out the negotiations for at least ten years“. (110) The peace conference in Madrid in 1991 agreed that all parties to the conflict should negotiate under Washington´s umbrella.

Space prevents from commenting on each particular historic incident the authors describe. One period is, however, worth mentioning. It’s Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s short term in office. He is one of the most rejeconist Israeli politicians, although he disguised himself, until 2011, in Labor clothes that are still considered “left-wing” by a few political pundits. He comes from a Zionist Kibbutz Movement, as Rabin´s Minister for the Interior he voted against the Oslo accords, and as Israel’s Prime Minister he destroyed not only the remnants of the so-called peace process but also the so-called Israeli Zionist left. His role at Camp David in the year 2000 was solely destructive. He played games not only with the Americans but also with Arafat and the Israeli public. He and Clinton blamed Yassir Arafat for the failure at Camp David. Actually, he was the one who deceived everybody in order to disguise his rejectionist attitude. The authors demonstrate this by quoting people who attended this meeting that could have led to peace if the U. S. would have played its role as an “honest broker” seriously.

After Ariel Sharon defeated Barak, in 2001, peace did not have a chance at all. The events of 9/11 gave Sharon a welcome pretext for dismantling Arafat’s administration in the autonomous areas and commit atrocities in the OPT. The authors’ description of the Olmert government gives no hope for the future, not to speak of the right-wing Netanyahu/Lieberman government. They come to the conclusion that a peace agreement was never concluded because it “was never Israel´s top priority”. (163). Israel´s military strength is one of its main trumps, “but Israel has practically evolved into an army that has a country”. (163)  For the authors, Israel’s ruling class is so successful because the Israeli people want to see themselves as “protected and mighty”, and the settlement movement has been so successful because it presents itself as purely Jewish, authentic, and as a grass-roots force. Amit/Levit name many distortions: Israel is a substantial nuclear power with a powerful military; the Israeli Jewish people live in a “self-imposed ghetto” and nourish their own sense of victimhood, and claim they are constantly threatened from without. The authors see no prospect for peace in their lifetime.

The book’s special value is in demonstrating that the Arabs are not the ones who ‘never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity’, as Abba Eban used to say. The real rejectionists are Israel’s elites who seek further territory for their “Eretz Israel” at the cost of another people. That “Israel is no partner for peace” is a daring, but well argued, conclusion that should be thoroughly examined by all those who are involved in Middle Eastern affairs.

– Dr. Ludwig Watzal lives as a journalist in Bonn, Germany.

September 24, 2011 Posted by | Book Review, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , | 2 Comments