Thursday, May 31, 2007
Part 1- Hamas TV continues promotion of Shahada (martyrdom) for children
Part 2- Overview of the history of promotion of children's Shahada – Martyrdom"
Read this piece and, most importantly, watch the videos to get a sense of the depths of depravity to which humanity can sink.
Singling out Israeli academics for a boycott will set a dangerous precedent for freedom of thought, warns Geoffrey Alderman
Thursday May 24, 2007
In a few days' time the University and College Union will be asked to endorse - in an admittedly nebulous form - the 'boycott' of Israel's academic community, or, rather of those members and organs of that community who refuse to subscribe to a certain view of the state of Israel and its place in the international community.
I have no intention here of wasting time in any detailed consideration either of the legitimacy of the Jewish state or of the policies of that state in relation to its right to defend itself. No doubt some of these policies are open to criticism. But we must remember that Israel is at war and has been ever since the moment of its re-establishment fifty-nine years ago. In the defence of its borders and its citizens Israel, like any other state, is entitled to take tough measures - as Britain did during its own fight for survival between 1939 and 1945.
The boycotters know that in Israel, academic communities are free to operate with none of the pains and penalties that are hazards of daily academic life in Iran. Yet they do not ask us to boycott Iranian academia. They know that in Turkey, academic freedom is severely curtailed, and that academics in Turkish universities who question official accounts of Turkish history are routinely persecuted. Yet they do not ask us to boycott Turkish institutions of higher education. They know that in China there is no academic freedom - none at all. Yet they do not ask us to boycott the People's Republic of China.
Commendably, one motion before the forthcoming UCU congress draws attention to the persecution of trade unionists and teachers by the fascist regime in control of Colombia. But, equally commendably, this motion does not call for a boycott of Colombian universities. It is right not to do so.
The preoccupation of the boycotters with Israel gives away part of the game that the boycotters are playing - to attack Jewish rights and to undermine the legitimacy of the Jewish state. But there is - if it can be imagined - a much more sinister game that we are being invited to play. And that game has as its objective the acceptance of the starkly totalitarian and genuinely terrifying view that dialogue within the worldwide academy must be open only to those who agree, beforehand, to espouse a certain set beliefs, and to identify themselves with a certain political agenda.
In this case the set of beliefs relates to the Middle East, and the political agenda has to do with the reshaping of the Middle East map. The motion before the UCU congress talks about "the complicity of Israeli academia in the occupation." But many academics in Israel and outside it do not accept the term "occupation." In my view Jerusalem has been liberated, not occupied. You may not agree with me, but am I to be forced to alter my sincerely held view as a condition - say - of having an article considered for a learned journal, or of being able to participate in an academic conference?
If the boycotters have their way, this is what will happen. And at that point British academia will find itself at the top of a slippery staircase with no landing. If I have to endorse a certain set of political values in order to maintain a dialogue with my fellow historians, why not extend this mechanism of compliance to other political and social issues, and other subject areas? For example, why not pass a motion obliging all teachers of clinical medicine and nursing education to publicly declare their support for abortion on demand, and prohibit all contact with those who refuse to make such an affirmation?
The answer is that to do so would be to violate the basic tenets of academic freedom and to prostitute universities to the whims of political agenda-setters.
That, of course, is precisely what the boycotters want. It is a nightmare scenario that must not come to pass.
· Professor Geoffrey Alderman is a Visiting Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London.
Lecturers’ union votes to back Israel boycott-Life & Style-Education-TimesOnline
Britain’s lecturers’ union gave its backing to a boycott of Israeli
universities and academics yesterday, in protest over Israel’s
treatment of the Palestinians.
Delegates to the inaugural
congress of the University and College Union (UCU), which represents
more than 120,000 academics, condemned Israel for denying Palestinians
their “educational rights” and accused its academics of being complicit
in “the occupation”. They voted by 158 to 99 in fa-vour of a
Two years ago the Association of University
Lecturers (AUT) caused worldwide outrage when it demanded a similar
boycott. The union eventually overturned the resolution later that
year. The other main union, Natfhe, continued to support a boycott at
its conference last year, but the policy was abandoned when it merged
with the AUT to form the UCU soon afterwards.
Last week, Steven
Weinberg, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist, cancelled his visit to
Britain in protest against calls for boycotts of Israel by journalists
and doctors and the UCU motion. Jewish organisations in Britain
condemned the UCU vote as an attack on academic freedom. Jeremy
Newmark, chief executive of the Jewish Leadership Council, an umbrella
group of leading Jewish figures, said: “This is a full-fron-tal assault
on academic freedom. It defies common sense and undermines the
priorities and freedoms on which British academia is based.”
called on Sally Hunt, the UCU joint general-secretary, to honour her
election pledge to hold a referendum before implementing any boycott.
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(AP) - Britain's largest union of university and college teachers voted
to hold talks on an academic boycott of Israel, a spokesman said
University and College Union, which represents around 120,000
employees, voted Wednesday to allow local branches to make a final
decision on imposing a boycott on cooperation with Israeli academics.
members voted on a motion asking them to note that ``Israel's 40-year
occupation has seriously damaged the fabric of Palestinian society
through annexation, illegal settlement, collective punishment and
restriction of movement.''
It called on British academics to condemn the ``complicity of Israeli academia in the occupation.''
boycott would aim to prevent Israeli and British university or college
staff from working on joint projects or assisting each other in their
work, union spokesman Dan Ashley said.
member should have the opportunity to have their say,'' the union's
general secretary, Sally Hunt, told an annual meeting in Bournemouth,
But Hunt said she did not believe most members would support a boycott and that it would likely be difficult to enforce.
Britain's largest union, will debate a similar motion at its annual
meeting in a few weeks, a spokesman said on condition of anonymity in
line with union policy. The motion, which was put forward by an
individual branch, calls for economic sanctions and a boycott to be
applied to Israel, but the final wording was not immediately available.
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Wednesday, May 30, 2007
From the International Herald Tribune: Malaysian court refuses to recognize Muslim's conversion to Christianity
PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia: In a controversial victory for Islamic law over secularism, Malaysia's highest court refused Wednesday to recognize the conversion of a Muslim-born woman to Christianity, ruling that the matter was beyond the jurisdiction of the country's civil courts and should be handled by religious authorities.
Muslims, who make up about 60 percent of Malaysia's population, have co-existed with Buddhists, Christians, Hindus and Sikhs for decades in this country, considered one of the world's most progressive and modern Muslim democracies. But the ruling here underlined the increasing separateness of Muslims from people of other religions and reinforced the idea, widely held in many Muslim countries, that Islamic law should have primacy over secular laws in certain aspects of their lives.
The Federal Court was divided 2-1 in its decision, with the only non-Muslim judge, Richard Malanjum, dissenting forcefully and arguing that the Constitution must remain the supreme law of the land. The split on the court mirrored the discord in Malaysian society, where ethnic and religious tensions have increased in recent years.
The ruling exhausted the last appeal of Lina Joy, who, after being baptized a Roman Catholic in May 1998, wanted to remove the word "Islam" from her identity card in order to marry her Catholic fiancé. Muslims in Malaysia are subject to separate laws on inheritance and marriage - they must marry within the faith - and are not allowed to have premarital relationships or drink alcohol, among other rules. Because separate laws apply to them, Muslims must list their religion on their identity cards.
Joy, who lost her job as a saleswoman last year because of the controversy and whose family has reportedly been harassed, is seeking political asylum in Australia, according to one of her advisers, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak for her.
Interestingly, the ruling stated that the Islamic court had jurisdiction. However, the pertinent law states that Islamic courts have jurisdiction only over those who profess Islam, which Lina Joy does not.
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from The Independent: 'Japanese Schindler' who saved Lithuanian Jews is honoured
When Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko visited the
monument of Chiune Sugihara in Lithuania last weekend, many television
programmes back in Japan had to run stories explaining who this obscure
It's obvious why the Emperor would be in London yesterday to dine with the Queen but who was Chiune Sugihara?
For years, few Japanese knew the incredible story of how the man
dubbed "Japan's Schindler" saved about 6,000 Jews from the Nazis during
the Second World War despite working for an ally of Germany. Unlike
Oscar Schindler, the German industrialist who turned against the Nazis
and rescued almost 1,100 Jews from the Holocaust, Sugihara had to wait
until just seven years ago for his bravery to be officially recognised.
Sugihara was the acting consul in Lithuania's temporary wartime
capital when he was ordered to abandon his post as the Germans advanced
in 1940. A fourth of the city's population was Jewish, mostly
prosperous and well integrated, and few were ready to believe the
horror stories from nearby Poland until it was too late to flee. By an
accident of history the mild-mannered diplomat - one of just two left
in the city - became their last hope for survival.
The crossroads in Sugihara's life came one night in July 1940 when
he woke up to find a group of desperate refugees outside his window
demanding visas to the Soviet Union. He decided to help but his
repeated requests to Tokyo for permission to issue the visas were
denied. Despite facing disgrace or worse for his family, Sugihara
decided to follow his conscience and sign as many visas as he could, in
defiance of his government.
Sugihara's courageous decision was all the more remarkable given his
background. From solid middle-class stock, he graduated from Tokyo's
elite Waseda University and served under the Foreign Ministry in
Japan's puppet state of Manchuria, one of the more brutal military
occupations of the war. A gifted linguist, he was once tipped for an
Yet this is the man who sat for almost a month from 31 July to 28
August 1940 painstakingly writing out 10-day transit visas by hand,
even enlisting his wife, Yukiko, to help him. By the time they boarded
a Berlin-bound train on 1 September 1940, still scribbling out the last
visa, they had saved about 6,000 people, including hundreds of
children. Sugihara's final act in the besieged city was to hand his
consular stamp to a refugee, who went on issuing passes.
Sugihara's reward for his heroism was dismissal from the Foreign
Ministry immediately after the war. Disgraced in Japan, he was forced
to eke out a living as a part-time translator and ended his life
working for a trading company with connections to Russia. He died in
1986 and his family had to wait until 14 years later for the then
Foreign Minister Yohei Kono to formally apologise.
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
It has been my gut feeling that Europeans blame the victims of the Holocaust for much the same reasons that Americans vilified Indians and Blacks: the imperative to erase their sense of collective guilt for their nations' racial atrocities. I would love to know exactly what Yossi Klein Halevi said at this conference.
Here's Melanie Phillips' piece:
Melanie Phillips’s Diary » The legacy of the Six-Day War
I attended an excellent seminar yesterday in Jerusalem, run by the estimable Shalem Centre, on the legacy of the Six-Day War between Israel and the Arabs, the 40th anniversary of which falls next week. Michael Oren, a notable historian of that war who has been mining the treasure trove of recently de-classified documents about it, related how, during the period leading up to June 1967 when attacks upon Israel were mounting, the tension in Israel became unbearable as people feared a second holocaust at the hands of the Arab states who were clearly preparing for all-out war. De-classified documents have shown that Egypt, Jordan and Syria were planning to cut Israel in half; Jordan was planning to take out whole populations from Israeli towns and shoot them. Plans for the destruction of Israel had been laid to the smallest detail.
Israel, however, planned for no more than a 48-hour surgical strike, explicitly resolving not to enter Gaza or the West Bank. What Israel had not expected was that King Hussein of Jordan, who had hitherto been signalling covertly that he had no hostile intent, would launch a serious attack, but Egypt told him falsely, after Israel had destroyed its entire air force on the ground in the space of one hour, that Egypt was on course for victory. So Jordan started firing on Israel from the West Bank, and Israel was accordingly sucked in, as it was into Gaza after attacks were launched from there.
On June 16 1967 Israel offered to give back these territories to Jordan and Egypt in exchange for peace. It even convened a meeting of 18 notable Arabs from the West Bank to discuss whether a Palestinian state could be established there. They all said they would indeed like to have such a state – but if they signed any such agreement with Israel, radicals such as Yasser Arafat would kill them.
I look forward to this history being provided to the public by the British media over the next few days, particularly by the BBC.
There were two other notable contributions to the seminar. Martin Kramer considered the common argument that the 1967 war and subsequent ‘occupation’ led to the emergence of Islamist extremism and al Qaeda. The facts, he said, did not fit this thesis. For a start, the one country in the Middle East where Islamism had seized power since 1967 was Iran, which had played no part in that war. 1979, the year the ayatollahs came to power, was the landmark year for the emergence of Islamism; and the historical grievance behind that Iranian revolution was the return of the Shah. Israel was irrelevant. This meant that the key to countering Islamist fundamentalism was not the Israel/Arab peace process, but ‘rolling back the Iranian revolution’ – in other words, regime change in Iran.
In the most poignant and indeed tragic analysis of all, Yossi Klein Halevi suggested that the Six-Day War had brought to light a continuing ambivalence in the attitude to power of the Jewish people themselves. The weeks before that war, when attacks upon Israel and the threat of war were mounting – the ‘waiting period’—reawakened the primal Jewish fear both of a second holocaust and that the Jews would once again be isolated as the world stood by and watched it happen. The principle established by the Six Day War would trigger pre-emptive action by Israel. The consequence of its victory, however, was that Jews felt able for the first time to confront the Holocaust and from that date it became central to the identity of Jews in the diaspora. The other side of the coin was that the same victory enabled the non-Jewish world to slough off its own responsibility for the Holocaust and in turn for the survival of the Jewish people. While Jews saw the Six Day War as a narrow escape from genocide, the non-Jewish world only saw the Jews victorious over another people.
And this division was carried through into the Jewish people themselves. Those on the left (roughly speaking) saw only the victory and concluded therefore that Israel could now take risks with its security in order to achieve peace with the Arabs. Those on the right saw that Israel was the only country in the world marked out for extermination and concluded therefore that taking risks for peace was suicidal. The Jews have thus internalised the difference between May 1967, with its terror of annihilation, and June 1967, with its relief at the astounding victory. And the difference between these two months has divided them as a people. While the Six Day War made Israel the focus of their identity for many diaspora Jews and ignited their determination that ‘never again’ would they be slow to defend their own people against annihilation, for many others it turned them against it. For at the very moment that the left embraced ‘victim culture’ as their supreme cause, Israel ceased in their eyes to be David and turned instead into Goliath. For so long, Jews had been despised as cowards. Now they were to be despised as aggressors. As Halevi concluded: ‘The 1967 war made some Jews feel safe enough to long for powerlessness’.
The result is that the Jewish people today is living through a seismic internal rupture. The terrible conclusion from such an analysis is that it is only disaster and annihilation that will unite it. Victory and power divide and threaten to destroy it; there can be unity only in catastrophe. Such a pathological ‘Catch-22’, such an each-way bet on self-destruction, cannot be tolerated. It has to be fought. The Jewish people has to bring these two halves of its psyche together. It has to learn to acknowledge the reality of the unique threat to its existence and to accept that virtue does not reside in powerlessness. To believe that it does is to continue to be imprisoned in a psychic ghetto. Israel was established to say never again’ to precisely that mentality. The dreadful internal war that is currently engulfing diaspora Jews, the legacy of those six days in June 1967, shows that for too many that elementary lesson – the denial of which is causing so many once again to sleepwalk towards mass destruction — still has to be learned.
This logic is also how Oxfam justifies their current refusal to criticize nations where their relief efforts might be threatened if they were to be honest about the crimes against humanity those nations commit. So Oxfam does business with the dictators of the Sudan and Zimbabwe, and says nothing of the causes of genocide and famine in those countries. That's just not their reason for being, they say, and to do so would endanger their mission.
But they make an exception of this rule for one nation. What nation could that be?
From NGO Monitor:
Update - Oxfam UK Targets Israel's Right to Self Defense
Previous editions of NGO Monitor have profiled Oxfam International, an organization with an annual budget of over $300 million, and its political activities and impact in the conflict. These analyses highlighted Oxfam’s political condemnations of Israel, the tendency towards silence on human rights abuses committed by Palestinians, including the use of children for acts of terror (Abuse of Palestinian Children – NGO Monitor March 2004), and failure to condemn Palestinian suicide bombings (Majority of International and Palestinian NGO’s Fail to Condemn Jerusalem Suicide Bombing – NGO Monitor Feb. 2004). As shown below, the British branch of Oxfam has expanded this political campaign to Israeli security policies against terror attacks.
On 21 April 2004, Britain’s Guardian newspaper reported that “Oxfam will today demand that the government reveal if British companies have supplied components for Apache helicopters to Israel, the kind that were used to assassinate two Hamas leaders” (“Oxfam Calls for Clarity on Apaches”) This news article quoted Ed Cairns, senior policy analyst at Oxfam: “It's clear that the government has licensed all sorts of components to Israel without giving us the details." Mr Cairns said it was time the government came clean, stating: "Until they do, people will continue to suspect the government of undermining its bold public statements with secretive arms deals."
While Oxfam’s actions could be seen within the context of its ongoing campaign against British governmental involvement in global arms sales, the organization’s emphasis on Israeli Apache helicopters highlights Oxfam’s ideological agenda. It is clear that Israel has employed such weaponry in order to carry out pinpoint strikes in self-defense against terrorist leaders, with the aim of protecting Israeli lives while minimizing civilian casualties. Nonetheless, Oxfam has seen fit to attack the British government for selling weapon component parts to a fellow democratic nation fighting terrorism. Oxfam is also exhibiting a double standard, condemning Israel’s legitimate security while failing to mention massive British arms sales to Middle Eastern states such as Saudi Arabia as well as other countries with abysmal human rights records.
In addition, as reported by NGO Monitor in April 2004 (Sharon’s disengagement plan – NGOs rush to reject Gaza withdrawal), Oxfam, in partnership with Christian Aid and Cafod, expressed its opposition to Prime Minister Sharon’s Gaza disengagement plan in a letter to British Prime Minister Tony Blair. It is clear that Oxfam continues to advocate for the Palestinian cause, including efforts to influence the political views of the British government and its stance towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
In what circumstances would Oxfam's head choose to speak plainly, even if telling the truth endangered famine relief?
Oxfam was founded in 1942 to bring aid to the oppressed of Nazi Europe, a cause that didn't make it popular with the Churchill government. After the Germans occupied Greece, the Royal Navy blocked the shipping lanes. Food and medicines couldn't get through to civilians, and famine set in. Lifting the blockade might have helped the starving, but Whitehall wondered whether food meant for the hungry wouldn't end up in the bellies of German troops instead, and gazed with some disdain on the new lobbyists.
The founders of the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief were stereotypical members of the great and the good: bishops, academics, retired teachers and Quaker philanthropists, all of whom have been at the forefront of liberal causes for generations, and the butt of satirists for just as long. In Bleak House, Dickens gave us Mrs Jellyby, who had "very good hair but was too much occupied with her African duties to brush it", and was so obsessed with bringing edu cation and coffee cultivation to "the natives of Borrioboola-Gha, on the left bank of the Niger" that her neglected daughter declared: "I wish Africa was dead! I do! Don't talk to me, Miss Summerson. I hate it and detest it. It's a beast!"
Yet Churchill's coalition government found it no easier than its successors to dismiss the new charity. Mock if you like, implied Gilbert Murray, Regius professor of Greek at Oxford, founder of Oxfam and friend of half the worthy causes of the mid-20th century, but "be careful in dealing with a man who cares nothing for comfort or promotion, but is simply determined to do what he believes to be right". Murray was better at predicting the power of organised conscience than Dickens. The ad hoc response to the Greek famine turned into the most visible charity on the high street. It was infused with the amateur air English liberals adopt when they go out in the world to do good. The first head office was in a cramped room above the original Oxfam shop in Broad Street in the city centre; the second in a dingy parade of shops in Victorian north Oxford.....
The annus mirabilis for Oxfam was 2005, when Blair and Brown pushed for the G8 nations to agree to an extraordinary programme of debt relief and subsidies for Africa, Live 8 played Hyde Park, and the Asian tsunami provoked an outburst of altruism. "It was a time that people recognised that we are part of the global world," Stocking remembers with a warm smile. "For the first time, the new horizons of travel and the net came together and made people realise that if we're going to live happily in the global world we're going to have to make it better."
I wasn't as convinced then and am less so now. Even at the peak of Make Poverty History's campaign, you didn't have to be a Telegraph-reading Tory to think the aid movement was taking a wrong turn. It presented a picture of a world as much the white man's to direct as it was at the apogee of the European empires. No one told the audience at Live 8 that Africa had nepotistic dictators in power or kleptomaniac families in office. They stayed silent about genocidal movements and spy-ridden regimes. All that was needed to rescue Africa from poverty was for the developed world to agree more aid, fairer trade and debt relief and - poof! -the suffering would end.
Two years on, the neocolonialist view hasn't been shaken. A recent Oxfam study of global warming says, truthfully, that pollution from the rich world will hurt the poor world, but fails to ask how Africa can develop without increasing its output of greenhouse gases. A report on foreign policy says, again rightly, that the Iraq war has made humanitarian intervention harder to justify, but it makes no condemnation of Ba'athist and Islamist "insurgents", nor does it offer solidarity to their victims. A report in advance of this summer's G8 summit condemns rich governments for failing to honour promises made in 2005, but assumes the problems of the world are the fault of the west and, by converse, that the remedies lie in western hands.
The usual justification for lopsided vision is that pressure groups can best influence their own governments. A demonstration in London against the massacres in Darfur will have no influence on the regime in Khartoum, but a march to demand that the British government commit more money to, say, education in Africa might. If double standards and myopia follow, then so be it. What matters is what works. But the easy ride given to Oxfam, Christian Aid and the other aid charities overlooks a structural problem. The aid charities are hybrids with incompatible aims. On the one hand, they provide relief regardless of the political consequences - like the Red Cross - and, on the other, they lobby for political change - like Human Rights Watch. As Amartya Sen showed, dem ocracies don't have famines. The great hungers of the past hundred years were presided over by colonial administrators, communist tyrants and, today, African nationalists and gangsters. Dictatorships do not as a rule tolerate censure from anyone inside their borders. Therefore, if Oxfam were to speak out against the obscenity of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe being elected to head the UN Commission on Sustainable Development, there's a fair chance Mugabe would stop Oxfam workers from relieving the suffering inflicted by his economically unsustainable regime. Its hybrid status means Oxfam has to direct disapproval at governments that won't respond to criticism by closing down Oxfam operations, but, rather, will invite Stocking in for a chat and a cup of tea.
Stocking has the strength of character to face hard questions candidly. In Darfur, I said, Oxfam is feeding 600,000 refugees on the Chadian border. Is that why it refuses to call the Darfuri genocide "genocide"?
"It is a dilemma for us," she said. "We think we've got to save lives today while trying to get the international com munity to sort out the bigger problem. Now we will do our absolute utmost to go to the edge of that. We will try to give as much information out, but not in ways that are challenging to the Khartoum government."
I asked if she could imagine circumstances in which Oxfam would choose to speak plainly, even if telling the truth en dangered famine relief. There were two, she replied. First, if charitable aid was a "sticking plaster" that allowed the international community to feel that conditions in, say, Darfur were not so bad. Second, if aid was keeping an oppressive government in power, as may soon be the case in Zimbabwe.
I suggested that a better policy would be to help African progressives set their countries free by championing their causes and highlighting the crimes of their oppressors. If I'd confessed to stealing second-hand books from my local Oxfam, she couldn't have been more shocked. "No, no, that's not our mandate. We want to offer a way out of poverty that makes them feel they have economic opportunity and provides them with a right to be heard. It's not our job to help groupings that want to overthrow their governments."
She sounded reasonable as she marked out her limits, but I was left wondering how long the aid charities could stay in British politics while staying out of African politics. The strongest criticism she would make of governments in the poor world was that some of them were corrupt. But the trouble with Africa is not that its post-colonial elites are corrupt - there are corrupt governments all over the world - it is that they are unpatriotic. From Côte d'Ivoire to Zimbabwe, post-colonial rulers have shown that they would prefer to bring the roof down on their wretched peoples rather than let the opposition challenge their power.
At its birth, Oxfam had to decide whether destroying tyranny was more important than relieving immediate suffering, and 65 years on it seems no closer to an answer.
Their hatred of Israel is so palpable and their historical distortions so obvious as to scarcely deserve rebuttal. Only true believers would accept the PCUSA's propaganda at face value. It would be wishful thinking to hope to change their minds, so I won't bother to make the attempt.
However, I find it very interesting that (as a Presbyterian who opposes his church's bias reports to Solomonia) Presbyterian pro-Palestinian activists are using the term ''nakba'' to refer to the Six Day War. Doesn't ''nakba'' [(النكبة) "disaster"] refer to Israel's victory in the 1948 War of Independence in the lingo of the pro-Palestinian? I think the Presbyterians are confusing "disaster" with "setback" [''naksah''].
The use of the term "nakba" for the Israeli War of Independence was an innovation of Constantin Zureiq, the intellectual father of the Arab Nationalist Movement and a key influence on the founders of the Baathist party. Zurieq used the term in the title of his book about the 1948 War, ''Ma'na al-Nakba'' (The Meaning of the Disaster).
With respect to "naksah", according to the Egyptian journalist Mohammed Hassanein Heikal, Heikal and the then Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser came up with ''naksah'' as the party line term for the Six Day War. I use the term "party line" advisedly, as Nasser's propaganda effort seems to have been geared primarily toward leadership of the Soviet Union. According to a study published by Strategic Insights (an electronic journal of the Center for Contemporary Conflict at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California):
The two men turned to discuss Nasser’s speech and what is fascinating about the Heikal papers is the selection of Arabic word Naksah (setback) to describe the 1967 military debacle. Heikal came up with Naksah and when Nasser asked about his choice of a singular word to describe the 1967 War they went down the list of words Hazimah (defeat), Sadmah (shock), and Karithah (catastrophe) as well as the 1948 War that is called Nakbah (another Arabic dialect for catastrophe).The Cold War origins of these terms is interesting and very revealing about the true nature of movements which use them. For one thing, it puts the lie to the myth of the indigenous Arab insurgency. The conflict in the Middle East is and always was part of a larger struggle. And it has always involved Arab dictators' creative exploitation of the suffering created by their own policies as part of a grand strategy. So when the Egyptian "Arab Socialists", together with the Baathists of Syria and Iraq, worsened the situation of the Palestinians, they found a way to exploit this "setback" for their own purposes. They found a way to use this to extract more weapons and money from the USSR.
The choice of words to describe a catastrophic military setback for Egyptian arms such as the 1967 War was a matter of great importance. According to Heikal, Nasser was obsessed with the right description of this military defeat; he wanted to leave his successor enough political room to rebuild and place Egypt once again on the offensive. To describe the Six Day War as a Hazimah (defeat) would leave no room for reconstruction and would upset the Soviets who provided the bulk of the military hardware that Syria and Egypt incompetently deployed. He then blamed Lyndon Johnson for his defeat, accusing the United States of flying military hardware to Israel from Wheelus Air Force Base in Libya. He informed Heikal of a letter he dictated to Syrian President Atasi, urging that he accept a cease-fire to save what remained of the Syrian Army. Nasser did not need to say more, for the Syrian Army needed to be preserved to suppress any internal threats that would topple the regime. Nasser then reflected on how the Soviets were likely to help Syria more than Egypt, how Moscow seemed to understand Baathism more than Arab Socialism. Heikal and Nasser then talked about Moscow’s need to preserve its gains in the Arab world at the expense of Washington. Nasser understood he could rely on using the Cold War to extract further military aid from Moscow.
How does this relate to the PCUSA? Just as the Maoists among the New Left of the late 1960s and early 1970s adopted and mindlessly repeated such bizarre phrases as "running dog lackies of the capitalist war-mongers" (okay...that's an extreme case, but one that was in general circulation), the Presbyterians now use (and apparently misuse) the party line terms "nakba" and "naksah". While the Maoist New Left had some understanding of the origins of their cant, the PCUSA has none. The PCUSA does not knowingly use the terminology of pro-Soviet Arab dictators. The origins of pro-Palestinian propaganda embarrass the Arabs by reminding the world of a history that they wish to conceal, and also embarrass their allies who would rather not ask. The PCUSA believe that they use the language of resistance to oppression by imperialists. What they don't understand, but what their language reveals, is that they have merely chosen the wrong side in a battle between global movements.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
Stalin and the Rothschilds is one of the more bizarre connections that I discovered while writing a book on the dictator’s early life. Stalin worked for the Rothschilds; he burnt down their refinery and ordered the assassination of their managing director — yet later they helped fund Lenin and Stalin. There were always rumours, but my discovery of a long-forgotten memoir in the archives of Tbilisi now reveals the true story. In December 1901 Stalin, aged 23, arrived in the Black Sea oil port Batumi, which was dominated by the Rothschild and Nobel dynasties. One day Stalin came home late boasting, ‘Guess why I got up so early this morning? Today I got a job with the Rothschilds!’ Then he almost crooned, ‘I’m working for the Rothschilds! I’m working for the Rothschilds!’ One of his comrades, who wrote the memoir, joked, ‘I hope the Rothschilds will prosper from this moment onwards!’ Stalin sniggered, thrilled to be working for the dynasty that personified the wicked glamour of international capital. On Stalin’s first day at work the Rothschilds’ refinery mysteriously caught fire. Stalin bragged to his comrade, ‘Your words came true.’ The Rothschilds did indeed prosper with Stalin as an employee. Stalin the arsonist next organised a brutal strike. When the Rothschilds’ director refused his demands, Stalin ordered his assassination: the gun jammed and the director fled back to Paris. This was not the end of Stalin’s relations with the Rothschilds. In 1907 he moved to the lawless boom city Baku, home of super-rich oil barons who were much the same as today’s oligarchs. To finance Lenin, Stalin’s gangster outfit of hitmen and bank robbers used protection rackets, piracy, blackmail and kidnapping. The Rothschilds were hugely powerful in Baku, yet the Tsar’s secret police and Bolshevik memoirists recorded how the Rothschilds contributed to Stalin’s funds, even paying him off to stop a strike. The Rothschilds never knew that they had employed the future supreme pontiff of Marxism-Leninism — nor that he burnt down their refinery. The family shrewdly sold their Russian interests in 1912. Only now have they returned to Russia. I recently recounted this to Jacob Rothschild, sending him a postcard of young Stalin on which I wrote, ‘Your Employee of the Month 1902!’
Muhammad Nimr Al-Madani: "The secret about which few people talk today is that Europe wanted to get rid of the Jews. The Jews in Europe – and I emphasize Europe - were not very popular. Therefore, in order to get rid of the European Jews, the European countries had to accept the Zionist plan that was formulated, and to agree to the transfer of Jews to Palestine. Hitler agreed to this and agreed to the transfer of these Jews to Madagascar. This was Hitler’s idea, in order to create a Jewish state on Syrian land. When Hitler occupied territories in East Europe, the idea of establishing a homeland and a state for these Jews arose. But the Europeans did not agree to this, because both Germany and England were each searching for ways to get rid of their Jews. Therefore, Hitler was falsely accused of committing genocide against the Jews. This is a lie, and we know full well that Hitler never did such a thing. It was a premeditated lie by the Zionist regime."
Andre Glucksmann: The Jerusalem syndrome - signandsight
A hypocritical geopolitics, which ordains the Mideast as a basic pillar of the world order, has become the religion of the European Union, the belief of the unbelievers and of the doubters of the west. Post-modern thinkers have no justification in proclaiming the end of all ideologies. In fact, we are swimming in an ideological illusion and have secretly exchanged our deceptive hopes for a final battle with a fearful incantation conjuring a catastrophe to end all catastrophes, that is just as absolute. While our head swarms with surrealistic ghosts, our heart perceives, in every photo from Lebanon, the death of humankind. Jerusalem is only the centre of the world because it is considered the centre of the end of the world. Our illusions feed on apocalyptic notions.
And so every Mideast conflict is like a rehearsal for the end of days. Just look at the undefinable war of cultures, if you need convincing. And anyone taking that position is resigned to a self-fulfilling prophecy. The years of bombing of Israeli cities by the rockets of the Party of God become a foretaste of the Iranian godfather's promised destruction. And so, as Clausewitz already noted with irony, it is not the aggressor who starts the war. Instead it is he who steps in to stop the aggression. So Israel is guilty. Guilty of a collectively fomented fantasy of the end of days. From surrealistic geopolitics to delusion - just one step.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Nizar Riyan, a leading member of the Islamic group's political wing, said:
"It is a definite decision within the organization that Israel will be removed from the map, to be replaced by a Palestinian state."
Riyan was also quoted as urging armed Palestinian factions to "Shell Ashkelon until its residents clear out, as did the residents of Sderot."
Monday, May 21, 2007
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Israelis have no history in the Land because they are Khazars, who are not connected to the land… – Al Hayat Al Jadida, June 16, 2003
... Oddly, the Zionists were mostly non-Jews whose ancestors had themselves converted to Judaism around 800 AD in a place called Khazaria, in the Caucasus Mountains between the Caspian and Black Seas. They were quite literally Caucasians. – Judicial-inc. website
In 1917 the Khazar Jews passed a major milestone towards the creation of their own state in Palestine. The same year they also created the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. There followed a Christian holocaust, the likes of which the world has never seen. The Khazar Jews were once again in control of Russia after more than 900 years, and they set about the task of destroying the Russian Christians – over 100-million of them, at the same time over 20-million religious Jews also died at the hands of the Khazar Jews. – Aljazeerah.info website
It is one of the great ironies of the 21st century that anti-Zionists and anti-Semites on both the Left and the Right, have returned to racialist arguments against Jews that most of us thought had died out after World War II.
One of the most bizarre aspects of this "re-racializing" of anti-Semitism is the role played by the Khazar myth.
The newly fashionable Khazar mythology holds that modern day Ashkenazim, and especially the European leadership of the Zionist movement, are not Jews at all in the racial sense, but rather descendents from non-Jewish Khazars; therefore, the Khazar "theorists" claim, Zionists and Israelis have no legitimate claims to the Land of Israel.
It would be hard to exaggerate how widespread the misuse of the Khazar myth is among those seeking to delegitimize Israel and Jews today. A recent investigation showed nearly 30,000 websites using the Khazar "theory" as a bludgeon against Israel and Zionism.
Some two hundred websites claim to describe a cabal known as the Khazarian Zionist Bolsheviks (KZV). Neo-Nazi and Holocaust denial organizations and websites are particularly fond of the Khazar myth. It is also growing in popularity among left-wing anti-Zionists.
Arab and Islamofascist propagandists have long bandied about the Ashkenazim as Khazars theory and Iran’s genocidal leaders adore it. Al-Jazeera has been using the Khazar story to urge a worldwide Christian religious war against the Khazar pseudo-Jewish imperialists.
Groups promoting the Protocols of the Elders of Zion often cite the nefarious role of Khazars as "proof" of a worldwide Jewish conspiracy (I counted 700 such websites). And even Jewish anti-Zionist cranks like Alfred M. Lilienthal and the Swedish "Israel Shamir" have used the Khazar myth to attack Zionism.
Why are these various groups suddenly interested in a rather esoteric and archaic group of people in Central Asia that disappeared nearly a millennium ago?
The answer is very simple.
According to the Khazar theory of the new anti-Semites, most Jews today, particularly Ashkenazi Jews, are not racially Jews at all but descendents from the Turkic tribe of Khazars, whose ruling class and parts of its rank and file population converted to Judaism in the 8th or early 9th century CE. Hence, argue the racialists, Ashkenazi Jews have no rights to live in the racially Semitic Middle East and especially not in the Land of Israel.
Democratic Senator Barak Obama of Illinois, a leading candidate for the Presidency, told Haaretz in an exclusive interview that "Iran continues to be a major threat to the U.S. and its allies".
Obama reiterated his position that the U.S. should engage Iran in direct talks, but explained that these should be "low level talks" until there's "some sense of progress" such as voluntary freezing on the enrichment of uranium. Obama expressed a 'sense of urgency' and stated that the current pressure on Iran 'is not enough?.
A new bill, sponsored by Obama in the Senate, will require the federal government to publish a list of companies that have an investment of more than $20 million in the Iranian energy sector. It will authorize local governments to divest their pension funds from companies on the list and protect managers from lawsuits directed at them by investors who are unhappy with the decision to divest.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Friday, May 11, 2007
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | 'New proof' of Japan sex slaves:
Reports from Japan say documents have been found that suggest the Japanese forced women to work as sex slaves during World War II.
They come from the Dutch government archives and include the testimony of a 27-year-old Dutch woman from May 1946.
The Kyodo news agency says the documents show women were coerced into prostitution in occupied Indonesia.
Japan's PM Shinzo Abe had claimed no evidence existed to prove that women had been forced to work as sex slaves.
The documents are reported to have been found by a Japanese journalist investigating Japan's wartime crimes in Asia.
The Dutch woman's testimony says she had her clothes ripped off her by Japanese military police.
She says she was taken to a brothel and forced to work as a prostitute, despite her efforts to resist.
That testimony, it is claimed, was submitted to the Tokyo War Crimes Tribunal as evidence of forced mass prostitution in Magelang, in what is now Central Java, in 1944.
Other documents are said to include further allegations that the Japanese forced women into prostitution.
Earlier this year Prime Minister Abe said that investigations had failed to find any documentary evidence that the Japanese authorities in wartime had issued orders to soldiers to coerce women into sex slavery.
He said though that he stood by a Japanese government apology to the women, known in Japan as "comfort women".
The journalist who found these documents says they contradict the prime minister's denial that the authorities were directly involved in coercion.
The Japanese Foreign Ministry says it is aware of his claims but has not seen the documents so cannot comment on what they might contain.It says the Japanese government has investigated its wartime activities in Indonesia thoroughly and acknowledges and apologises for the country's wartime use of sex slaves.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Remember folks, the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade is the military wing...
...of the "moderate" Fatah movement.
Aksa threatens to attack targets abroad
The London-based Arab newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi reported on Friday that the Aksa Martyrs Brigades have threatened to carry out terror attacks on targets abroad if the international PA boycott is not lifted, Israel Radio reported.
According to the report, the Fatah-affiliated group said in a statement that its members would act against the US and any other country cooperating in the boycott.
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Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Six men described by federal prosecutors as "Islamic militants" were
arrested on charges they plotted to attack the Fort Dix Army base and
"kill as many soldiers as possible," authorities said Tuesday.
The six were scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Camden later
Tuesday to face charges of conspiracy to kill U.S. servicemen, said
Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in New
Officials said four of the men were born in the former
Yugoslavia, one in Jordan and one in Turkey. Five of them lived in
Cherry Hill, 10 miles east of Philadelphia and 20 miles southwest of
Fort Dix, Drewniak said.
"They were planning an attack on Fort Dix in which they would kill as many soldiers as possible," Drewniak said.
law enforcement official, speaking on condition of anonymity because
documents in the case remain sealed, said the attack was stopped in the
Authorities believe the men trained in the
Poconos for the attack and also conducted surveillance at other area
military institutions, including Fort Monmouth, the official said. The
official said that the men had lived in the United States for some time.
The six were arrested trying to buy automatic weapons in a sale set-up by law enforcement authorities, the official said.
The description of the suspects as "Islamic militants" was causing
renewed worry among New Jersey's Muslim community. Hundreds of Muslim
men from New Jersey were rounded up and detained by authorities in the
months following the Sept. 11 attacks, but none was connected to that
plot. [BLOGGER'S NOTE: THIS ASSERTION BY THE A.P. MAY NOT BE TRUE.]
"If these people did something, then they deserve to be
punished to the fullest extent of the law," said Sohail Mohammed, a
lawyer who represented scores of detainees after the 2001 attacks. "But
when the government says 'Islamic militants,' it sends a message to the
public that Islam and militancy are synonymous. "Don't equate actions with religion," he said.
OF COURSE, the ones equating religion and terrorism are the terrorists. If a group of terrorists say that they are killing in the name of god, then WHY in the name of god shouldn't we say so?
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The Hamas Television is using a clone of Disney’s Mickey Mouse to teach
children to hate Israel and America, and aspire to Islam’s inevitable
and impending world domination.
The squeaky-voiced Mickey Mouse lookalike,
named Farfur, is the star of a weekly children’s program called Tomorrow’s
Pioneers on the official Hamas TV station (Al-Aqsa TV). Farfur and
his co-host, a young girl named Saraa’, teach children about such things
as the importance of the daily prayers and drinking milk, while taking
every opportunity to indoctrinate young viewers with teachings of Islamic
supremacy, hatred of Israel and the US and support of "resistance" – the
Palestinian euphemism for terror.
Farfur tells children that they must pray
in the mosque five times a day until there is “world leadership under
Islamic leadership.” The earnest and soft-spoken Saraa’ explains that
the nucleus of this world Islamic leadership will be from “all of Palestine,”
i.e., including Israel. Farfur refers to Israel as “the oppressive invading
Zionist occupation,” which the children must "resist."
In a religious warning that is striking,
considering the young age of the target audience, Saraa’ announces that
after death, the children will have to answer to Allah for what they did
or did not do for the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, and for Palestinian
“I remind you that Al-Aqsa and the prisoners
are a responsibility on our shoulders, and Allah will ask us on Resurrection
Day what we gave for their sake.”
The writing in this show is quite sophisticated.
Farfur's performance is unquestionably funny and entertaining, as is the
character’s comic timing. For example, as he rhymes off a list of world
figures, he chirps: “We will win, Bush! We will win, Condoleezza! We will
win, Sharon!” Then, without missing a beat, he quips, “Ah, Sharon is dead”
(sic), reinforcing his message that the plan for world domination is progressing.
Using a character based on an appealing,
world famous and beloved icon like Mickey Mouse to teach Islamic supremacy
and resistance as Islamic duty is a powerful and effective way to indoctrinate
The effectiveness of this program is heightened
by including child viewers, who phone in to the show and recite poems
with images of hate and violence; for example, “We will destroy the chair
of the despots, so they will taste the flame of death;” and, "Rafah sings
‘Oh, oh.’ Its answer is an AK-47. We who do not know fear, we are the
predators of the forest."
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Friday, May 4, 2007
The Justice Department has launched an internal investigation into whether Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's former White House liaison illegally took party affiliation into account in hiring career federal prosecutors, officials said yesterday.
The allegations against Monica M. Goodling represent a potential violation of federal law and signal that a joint probe begun in March by the department's inspector general and Office of Professional Responsibility has expanded beyond the controversial dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys last year.The revelations about Goodling were among several developments yesterday in connection with the firings, including a new subpoena seeking presidential adviser Karl Rove's e-mails and new accusations from two of the dismissed U.S. attorneys.
In newly released statements, the two alleged that they were threatened by Deputy Attorney General Paul J. McNulty's chief of staff immediately before Gonzales testified in the Senate in January.
Paul K. Charlton of Phoenix and John McKay of Seattle said that Michael J. Elston called them on Jan. 17 and offered an implicit agreement of Gonzales's silence in exchange for their continuing not to publicly discuss their removals. Gonzales testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee the next day and refused to provide details about the firings.
"My handwritten and dated notes of this call reflect that I believed Mr. Elston's tone was sinister and that he was prepared to threaten me further if he concluded I did not intend to continue to remain silent about my dismissal," McKay wrote in response to questions from the House Judiciary Committee.
James B. Comey, the Justice Department's second in command from 2003 until August 2005, also told a House Judiciary subcommittee that although he was the "direct supervisor" of all U.S attorneys, he was never informed about an effort by Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and his aides to remove a large group of prosecutors that began in early 2005.
LOS ANGELES, May 3 — Chief William J. Bratton of the Los Angeles Police Department said Thursday that the episode here in which police officers clashed with demonstrators and journalists on Tuesday at an immigration rally was the “worst incident of this type I have ever encountered in 37 years” in law enforcement.
Eight officers and at least 15 civilians were hurt, the police said, with people still calling the department on Thursday to report injuries. Mr. Bratton said 240 nonlethal projectiles were fired by the police into the crowd.
“Clearly, something went wrong here,” he said in a interview.
After a request by Mr. Bratton, the F.B.I. announced Thursday that it would open a civil rights inquiry into the incident, which has drawn outrage from immigrant and civic groups and journalists’ organizations and a rebuke from the City Council. On Wednesday Mr. Bratton announced two internal investigations by the Police Department.
News video images of the incident that erupted at a peaceful gathering in MacArthur Park, west of downtown, showed the police marching into the crowd, shoving and knocking down demonstrators and journalists with batons and firing rubber bullets at close range.
In television and press interviews throughout the day, Mr. Bratton said he was troubled by the police action he saw on the videos, and he sought to assure the city that he intended full disclosure of the facts.
Organizers of the May Day rally, whose theme was a call for broad changes to immigration laws, said they had held extensive negotiations with the police in preparing for the demonstration. They said the police did not follow the agreed-upon procedure in case of a disturbance.
“It completely broke down,” said Victor Narro of the National Lawyers Guild, who was the organizers’ liaison with the police.
WATCH THE VIDEO FROM THE LOCAL FOX AFFILIATE
from the Los Angeles Times:
here's Police Chief William Bratton on the LAPD's violent assault on innocent protestors, journalists and bystanders:
"Here you have a tent clearly [for the] news media," Bratton said. The anchor "wears a suit and tie and there is clearly cameras … and the knocking over of cameras in the tent -- that behavior is not under any circumstances justified."
He also said he was troubled by reports that police used force on women and children who had gone to the park to play.
"The idea that officers would be firing -- some of these devices send out five or six projectiles with one shot -- that is a concern," Bratton said.
Source: AP (5-3-07)
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- A fatal shooting by a state trooper that helped inspire the march from Selma in 1965 and the ''Bloody Sunday'' protest that preceded it will get a fresh look next week by a special grand jury.
Former State Trooper James Bonard Fowler has insisted for years that he shot black Vietnam War veteran Jimmie Lee Jackson in self-defense when Jackson grabbed Fowler's pistol during a melee in a Marion cafe.
''There is no question about who did the shooting. The question is whether this was a murder or it was something else,'' said District Attorney Michael Jackson, who is not related to the victim...
Fowler's version of the events the night Jimmie Lee Jackson was hurt was accepted by state officials in 1965. But in recent years, as prosecutors began to solve old civil rights-era slayings -- including the Birmingham church bombing that killed four girls in 1963 and the slaying of three civil rights workers Mississippi in 1964 -- people in west Alabama began to call for a new examination of Jackson's death.
Thursday, May 3, 2007
Hizbullah offers Bishara asylum in Beirut. Shiite group says Azmi Bishara is 'fighter in Arab resistance movement,' offering him asylum in Lebanon.
Details of former MK's investigation reveal tactics police resorted to in attempts to summon evasive Bishara for questioning. Investigators reveal Bishara's contacts with Hizbullah, say he recommended long-range rocket attacks would serve Hizbullah cause"
CNN's Glenn Beck said Gore using "same tactic" in fight against global warming as Hitler did against Jews
On the April 30 edition of his nationally syndicated radio show, Glenn Beck likened former Vice President Al Gore's fight against global warming to Adolf Hitler's use of eugenics as justification for exterminating 6 million European Jews. Beck stated: "Al Gore's not going to be rounding up Jews and exterminating them. It is the same tactic, however. The goal is different. The goal is globalization. The goal is global carbon tax. The goal is the United Nations running the world. That is the goal. Back in the 1930s, the goal was get rid of all of the Jews and have one global government." He continued: "You got to have an enemy to fight. And when you have an enemy to fight, then you can unite the entire world behind you, and you seize power. That was Hitler's plan. His enemy: the Jew. Al Gore's enemy, the U.N.'s enemy: global warming." Beck added: "Then you get the scientists -- eugenics. You get the scientists -- global warming. Then you have to discredit the scientists who say, 'That's not right.' And you must silence all dissenting voices. That's what Hitler did."
This sort of argument by analogy to the Holocaust is untrue, totally inappropriate, and becoming more commonplace. Take some time to contact CNN and let them know that historical revisionism of this sort insults the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and is not fit for broadcast.
email Glenn Beck
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