Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Repair Richard Silverstein's World

Richard Silverstein's blog still has the outward appearance of a progressive, pro-peace blog, just as it did when he started it in 2004.  He called it Tikun Olam, Hebrew for "repair the world".  Over the years, he decorated it with images that evoke peace between Arabs and Israelis, music, children.  Back in the early days, he even did a little writing about World Music and his native Hudson Valley.  But since then, something has happened. His idealism soured into something harsh and cynical.  The columns on music and the Hudson Valley were replaced by a steady stream of attacks on real or imagined enemies, pseudo-investigative journalism which frequently makes a jumble of facts, and gratuitous attacks on Israel and those whom he sees as supporting Israel.  The pro-peace images remain on his website, but the feeling behind the writing has profoundly changed.

This was made abundantly clear recently when Silverstein published a vicious attack on Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., one filled with venom and tinged with racist imagery.  Silverstein was angered by (among other things) Jackson's proposal that the Palestinians renounce violence and follow the teachings of King and Gandhi.  Silverstein, rather than jumping on that bandwagon as he might have at one time, accused Jackson of being a whore, a beggar and an ignorant lackey of "rich pro-Israel Jews".  To his shame, he also mocked Jackson by adopting a blackface dialect, dropping the g's on several words in the piece in apparent imitation of an African-American accent.

That bugged me, and I said so in a post that appeared on my blog and at Harry's Place.  Silverstein has now responded to my post supporting Rep. Jackson by publishing a blog post which calls me, in Silverstein's very offensive words, "the Negro's greatest friend".  He goes on to bizarrely call me "a British Christian" ("keep in mind this guy is British and not Jewish" he writes), and falsely charge that I never write about race or civil rights except as a means of promoting Israeli interests.   All that came as news to me.  I'm Jewish, American, liberal, and a frequent commenter on racial issues in the U.S.  My parents and grandparents were active in the civil rights movement and I consider myself to be proudly in that tradition.  Silverstein, knowing virtually nothing about me other than the fact that I had criticized both his racist attack on Jesse Jackson Jr. and his misguided support of violence as a political tool, went so far as to invent an identity for me out of whole cloth, then attacked it.

(Since the time that his "Negro" post went online, Silverstein has learned from a comment that I'm an American Jew and has posted a half-baked explanation of his repeatedly calling me British and Christian. He claims that it was based on my frequent writing about a British cleric named Stephen Sizer. My blog has mentioned this man precisely twice in the course of the more than five years I've been blogging: I wrote one paragraph on him in 2007 and I cross-posted another blogger's piece on him in 2010. According to Silverstein's explanation, these two references to Sizer somehow led to his belief that I'm a British Christian. As to why this is important to him, I just can't say.)

I guess that I shouldn't be surprised by any of this. Silverstein has a reputation of being both thin-skinned and irrational when angry. I even saw evidence of this myself a while back. After the 2010 Haiti earthquake, he bizarrely condemned Israel for sending portable hospital facilities to assist the victims, an act of charity that many people regarded as heroic. Silverstein called it "the Zionization of disaster relief" in a blog post that was subsequently reposted on neo-Nazi and other racist websites.  When I pointed out that Silverstein's attack was unfair, he wrote a response in which he invented another false identity for me.  Without any basis whatsoever, he called me a right wing "Muslim-hater" and "McCarthyite", linked me, again without basis,  to a list of people he put in that category, and went on to condemn the liberal blog Daily Kos for publishing me.  His attack verged on paranoia when he wrote of those who expressed disagreement with his views on Haiti relief:

The attack is . . . coordinated along with internet activists recruited by the Foreign Ministry. Dershowitz and buddies of his like Weissman and Holland also play a useful role. I call it the vast right-wing hasbara conspiracy-crusade.

After inexplicably calling me a McCarthyite, he accused me of being part of a vast international conspiracy.

Looking back at both of these tantrums, it strikes me that this new one is actually worse than the previous one, and may reflect a further stage of Silverstein's decline. While the level of vituperation and deception in the personal attack is about the same, the broader implications of Silverstein's words are actually much more destructive.  Having been criticized for using racist language, Silverstein in response uses even more offensive racist language.  Having been criticized for opposing non-violence and negotiations, his response calls advocates of non-violence and peace negotiations agents of oppression.

What has become painfully obvious from his recent writing is Silverstein's difficult relationship with advocates of peace. Silverstein starts from the assumption that his opposition to Israel is intrinsically pro-peace and progressive. He then argues that people like Jesse Jackson, Jr. only support non-violence to help Israel, which Silverstein regards as being intrinsically reactionary and warlike. Through these mental gymnastics, Silverstein would have us believe that his support of political violence is more pro-peace than Jesse Jackson's support of non-violence.

It makes me sad to think that Richard Silverstein used to support peace in the Middle East and oppose the use of racially offensive stereotypes.  I wonder what went wrong with him.

From Richard Silverstein's blog: "Adam Holland: Negro's Greatest Friend"

Monday, August 22, 2011

Mondoweiss opposed Libya's revolution before they supported it

From Mondoweiss, May 2, 2011. The U.N.’s rogue alliance in Libya:

For the past several weeks, the supposed struggle for human rights and liberation in Libya has been so wrecked by an obviously corrupt European-led military intervention that one might well just stand back and watch it—like a house so engulfed in flames that one can only watch it burn. But with the killing of Muammar Qaddafy’s grandchildren by a NATO-organised air strike, those flames are rising so high that they are threatening Mount Olympus – the rarefied realm of the UN world system. The rumbling protests by an informed world public about all this, like those regarding illegalities in Iraq, do not suffice in this case. The lethal strike on Qaddafy’s family’s home emblematically contravenes the UN system of international law and world order so baldly that concerted international action must now be organised. For the fact is that the present situation of an organised European-led military attack on a sovereign state, with the open goal of regime change, is shaking the foundations of the world order that protects us all.


what we are witnessing in Libya rings of the same old ugly behaviour, which was also often defended on grounds of protecting people from the ravages of a bad (socialist or capitalist) government.

From Mondoweiss, August 21, 2011. Libyan triumph exposes the west's double standard for Palestine:

This is a joyful night. The liberation of Tripoli and Libya is one of those events we never could have predicted at the beginning of the year, I've been glued to the screen, sharing the triumph of the hopeful people in the streets in north Africa.


This is a great night for the self-determination of the Libyan people. Yes, and what about the self-determination of their neighbors in Palestine? How long can the west maintain this cruel double standard?

Counterpunch two days ago: Obama and NATO must surrender in Libya before it's too late!

The blog Counterpunch claims to have learned of private conversations between President Obama and Sen. John Kerry with respect to Libya.

Obama disapproves of officials using colorful language that might offend voters. But he did reportedly tell his friend who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently that “We have stepped into a pot of s--- and we need to get out of it!” . . . 

Counterpunch (allegedly) quotes an anonymous member of Sen. Kerry's staff:

“Both the CIA and Pentagon told our committee that green lighting NATO to bomb Libya would be really quick and not even very dirty. Now it’s become a potentially endless nightmare.”

NATO insiders have advised Congressional staffers recently that the apparent eternal US armed “coalition of the willing” cannot afford another humiliation from its point of view, given Iraq and Afghanistan, so NATO has no plans to stop the bombing until one of three events occur. Those three in order of NATO preference are: Gaddafi is killed, Gaddafi “surrenders” or Gaddafi flees Libya.

President Obama is being advised by some members of the Foreign Relations Committee among others to “just pull NATO’s god-damned plug and get this mess behind us!”

I don't  do mean to disparage Counterpunch as a source of news, but, especially in light of recent events, this story shows signs of being complete and utter bullshit.  I don't believe that President Obama and the (again anonymous) members of the Foreign Relations Committee said these things, I don't believe that the Counterpunch reporter has a source who would be privy to those discussions, and I don't believe that the canned quotes in the article accurately reflect the thinking of the parties into whose mouth Counterpunch places them.

Best of all about the piece is its timeliness.  As the rest of the world watches the Gaddafi regime collapse and celebrates the demise of the dictatorship, Counterpunch readers are told that NATO and President Obama. must surrender to Gaddafi before it's too late or they will suffer the consequences.

Perfect!  As they say, timing is everything.

Franklin Lamb: Waiting for the Endgame in Libya

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Gaza ceasefire in the works?

According to Gershon Baskin of the Israel / Palestine Center for Reaserch and Information, officials of Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and Israel are working behind the scenes and through intermediaries to put a ceasefire in place in Gaza. He writes on his organization's Facebook page:

If the ceasefire holds all night long it will be formalized tomorrow - lots of work behind the scenes, several hundred sms's and phone calls during the past 48 hours - and a lot of trust between people who wanted this to happen.


Hamas has sent a message to the Israelis - they are making serious efforts to control and stop the fire. Hamas leaders Haniyeh and Mashal have informed all of the leaders of the various factions that anyone shooting rockets into Israel will be stopped and arrested and even Ahmed Jaabri the head of Ez el din Qassem forces has deployed his men all over Gaza to stop the rocket fire.


I was the person who sent the message to the Israelis - it went to Bibi, Barak, Yoram Cohen, Beni Ganz and others.

IPCRI - Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information

UPDATE (8/22/2011 3:40 AM):

Gershon has posted that he

will be on IBA (Israel Broadcast Authority) English news today (i.e. Monday, August 22) on their 5pm news program talking about Gaza, Hamas, ceasefires, September, etc.

Carlos Latuff blocks Adam Holland on Twitter

I guess I was just too offensive for him.

Carlos Latuff, for those who don't know, took second prize in the International Holocaust Cartoon Competition sponsored by the Iranian regime in 2006.  

Latuff's Israel shtick is a simple one: he draws cartoons depicting Israelis as Nazis. It's not exactly brain surgery for him to do this, but the tedium of saying precisely the same thing over and over must be a challenge for him.

On occasion, he slips up and shows a side of himself that he would rather conceal.  The following widely-published Latuff cartoon manages simultaneously to use a metaphor invented by the Nazis and to compare Israel to Nazi Germany.   Below Latuff, is the original 1938 version by the Nazi cartoonist Josef Plank, who published under the pseudonym "Seppla".

Datei:Ship to Gaza by Latuff.gif

Which brings me to the apparent reason that Latuff blocked my twitter account. It all goes back to something I wrote on Twitter in response to Latuff tweeting that he was just an anti-Zionist, not anti-Jewish or anti-Buddhist, etc.  All I tweeted was that Latuff is as anti-Zionist as the next guy, if the next guy is Hermann Goering. I guess that was just too offensive for Latuff, the second-prize winner in Iran's Mock the Holocaust contest.

Read more about Carlos Latuff at the following sites:

  1. Palestine papers: Guardian publishes illustration by notorious cartoonist | Just Journalism
  2. Anti-Semitic Cartoons on Progressive Blogs | Adam Levick
  3. German Wikipedia page for Latuff (English autotranslation)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Are Ron Paul supporters a cult?

You tell me.

Let The Games Begin! - Slide 14
Ron Paul supporter at Iowa Straw Poll holding sign reading "Ron Paul is the Constitution" and a flyer reading "Ron Paul Mosh Pit"

from Let The Games Begin!: Republican Presidential Hopefuls Descend On Iowa For Ames Straw Poll | TPM Media

Friday, August 19, 2011

Justin Raimondo's Syria conspiracy theory: Israel behind uprising

Paleo-conservative blogger Justin Raimondo of the website has written a column "speculating" that Israel is behind the uprising in Syria and charging that protesters (whom he calls "armed gangs"), and not the Assad regime, are responsible for the violence. (Read here.) Raimondo writes:

With the Palestinians about to declare their independent state, and the UN ready to endorse it, the temptation to create some kind of diversion is likely to take hold of the Israeli leadership. Indeed, I would speculate it already has. Those "armed gangs" didn’t come out of nowhere, and it wouldn’t be the first time the Israelis demonstrated how far their reach extends inside Syria.

Raimondo, after thus "speculating" about Israeli culpability for the Syrian conflict, goes on to further speculate about Israel's motives and about American involvement.

Syria’s ally, Iran, is the real target of what looks to me like a coordinated effort to sow chaos in the region: the idea is to draw the Iranians into a proxy war in support of the regime, and lay the groundwork for an all-out US-Israeli attack on Tehran. The encirclement of the Iranians is proceeding apace, with the Israelis on the front line, the Americans in Iraq, Afghanistan and, increasingly, Pakistan. With Israel’s powerful lobby in the US relentlessly demanding that Washington "do something" about the Iranians, and the growing deluge of phony "intelligence" supposedly proving they have an active nuclear weapons program, it seems like just a matter of time before the fuse is lit and the region explodes. Obama’s demand that Assad step down is a giant step forward on this road.

Oddly, considering the seriousness of Raimondo's charges, he offers no evidence of their truth beyond his imputation of Israel's motive, i.e. that it might want to overthrow Assad to facilitate war against Iran. One could say that Raimondo takes quite a risk by putting his reputation on the line to promote a conspiracy theory for which has no evidence other than his speculation that it may be so. But that is Raimondo's reputation and his stock in trade. He reaches the conclusions which suit with his ideological bias, then states that, while he cannot prove his conclusions true, they certainly make sense to him.

I suggest that Raimondo ask the Syrian people how much sense his conspiracy theories make. That Raimondo rhetorically throws the Syrian protesters to the wolves of the Assad regime by accusing them of being "armed gangs" and Zionist dupes, and that he rationalizes this position as being anti-war, show that peace advocates are sometimes not the humanitarians they claim to be.

Australian activist: Israel responsible for Assad's troubles

Syd Walker, an Australian anti-Israel activist, has stated that Israel is responsible for the civil unrest in Syria, although he has failed to provide any basis for this charge (Read here.) Walker writes:

To understand why President Assad of Syria is under sustained attack, read this from 2010.

He then links to an AP article describing a meeting between Assad and Hugo Chavez during which Chavez accused Israel of committing genocide. According to Walker, the popular uprising of Syrians -- their belated Arab Spring which is now being suppressed in the most brutal manner by the Syrian regime with the help of their Iranian allies -- is nothing more than an Israeli attack on Assad for his anti-Zionism.

What a pathetic defense of real Syrian crimes against humanity in the name of promoting a belief in illusory Israeli ones!

The madness of Gilad Atzmon. He declares "I am a philosopher", then denies the Holocaust

Gilad Atzmon seems to be under the impression that he's Spinoza. After quoting Spinoza and declaring himself to be a philosopher critiquing politicians, Atzmon states that the basic tenet of his belief system is that Jews are to blame for anti-Semitism

(A)s long as Jews operate politically, culturally and socially within exclusive racially oriented cells, be it Israel, Zionism, Jewish ‘anti’ Zionist networks or even ‘Jews only’ football clubs , they will encounter problems.

He goes on to ask whether that whole "Auschwitz was a death camp" thing was just a big Jewish lie.

“If the Nazis ran a death factory in Auschwitz-Birkenau, why would the Jewish prisoners join them at the end of the war? Why didn’t the Jews wait for their Red liberators?”

Atzmon's writings resemble nothing so much as a weird anti-Semitic variation on Shock Corridor. That movie featured a black character who believed himself to be a white racist, dressing in Klan robes, carrying racist signs and attacking a black patient who tries to drink from a water fountain. That character's delusion, that he could throw off the emotional weight of racism by identifying with racists, has much in common with Atzmon's delusion. Atzmon's distortion of history to deny the Holocaust and blame its victims, his opposition to Jews having the same rights as other ethnicities to act as a group (a taboo so great for Atzmon that it apparently applies not only to Israel, and to political, cultural and social organizations, but even to "football clubs"), and his defense of terrorist violence against Jews who violate this taboo, all point to his identification with an extreme form of bigotry: the opposition to Jewish existence. This presents Atzmon with a fundamental problem: for a Jew to advocate opposition to Jewish existence, he must navigate a conundrum. For these reasons, Atzmon has come to the conclusion that he is Spinoza, a great philosopher who was rejected by the Jewish community for questioning its core beliefs .

For Atzmon, this bizarre delusion has become an imperative. If he weren't Spinoza, he would be something much more pathetic, and that would simply be intolerable.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Anti-Israel blogger's racially offensive attack on black congressmen visiting Israel

Seattle-based blogger Richard Silverstein has published a racially charged attack on Jesse Jackson, Jr. and several other African-American congressmen currently visiting Israel.  The post bears the odd headline "Whorin' and Shnorin' Jesse Jackson Jr. Style".  (Read here.)  That Silverstein apparently attempts to use black dialect to mock these congressmen, dropping the terminal "g" twice in the headline and twice in the post's first sentence, shows a shocking lack of sensitivity.  It seems that Silverstein is willing to make gratuitous use of a racial stereotype to mock black people whose support for Israel he finds objectionable.

The content of Silverstein's column, which attempts to paint Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. as an ignorant opportunist willing to sell out his principles for cash, strikes a similarly harsh tone.  Silverstein bases these charges on the slimmest of evidence: that Rep. Jackson purportedly received an $8,000 campaign donation from AIPAC.  Based on that and on Jackson's participation in the fact-finding tour of Israel, Silverstein  writes that Jackson

knows what he’s told to know. And you know who tells him what he knows? His rich pro-Israel Jewish friends in Chicago who are filling his campaign coffers.

Silverstein also harshly condemns Jackson, who has met with a number of Palestinian leaders, both official and otherwise, for not visiting Gaza to meet with representatives of Hamas to hear directly from them their positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The apparent inspiration for Silverstein's intemperate attack was his reading a column by Rep. Jackson in the Jerusalem Post, a column which  Silverstein condemns as being "fawning" and "pro-Israel".  In his column, Jackson calls on Palestinians to renounce violence in pursuing their goals, and turn instead to the non-violent resistance preached by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.  Silverstein argues that, while non-violence may have worked in fighting Jim Crow, it would be pointless for Palestinians to use against Israel.

The gist of the JPost piece is that the only way for the Palestinians to gain true success in their quest for justice is to swear off violence and embrace non-violence. Which is all well and good if you’re fighting for civil rights in Alabama in 1967, since the only weapons used against you were German shepherds and fire hoses (with the rare assassination thrown in for purposes of intimidation).  Martin Luther King and Jesse Jackson’s dad never had to face F-16 jets and Apache attack helicopters in their day. If they had, I’d guess they’d have had to adopt a different set of tactics to gain their freedom.

Thus Silverstein belittles the oppression experienced by African-Americans during their struggle for civil rights, casts Israel as being worse than the segregationist South, and disparages support for non-violence as being unrealistic.  Silverstein's throwaway comment about African-American civil rights activists "only" being subjected to "German shepherds and fire hoses (with the rare assassination thrown in for purposes of intimidation)" speaks volumes about the illogic underlying his argument against non-violence.  Silverstein clearly doesn't appreciate just how bad Jim Crow was.  Moreover, Silverstein's argument that Jackson's consideration of Israeli views and advocacy of Palestinian non-violence show that Jackson is in the pocket of wealthy Jews is the product of a very confused mind.

By contrast, Rep. Jackson's views about these subjects seem so much more reliable than those of Silverstein.  Jackson writes in his column that  Israeli leaders expect that, if the U.N. were to recognize a Palestinian state in September, the Palestinian leadership would follow this up by sending tens of thousands of civilians to storm checkpoints.  They worry that this centrally planned imitation of a grassroots Arab Spring uprising would set off a confrontation unlike any yet seen in the conflict's long and bloody history.

Jackson seeks another way.  He writes:

So is there an alternative to this potential violent future? I stand in the nonviolent active resistance tradition of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – as does my father, the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson – and I believe there is a nonviolent and just path to Palestinian statehood that is also in the security interests of Israelis.

In our meeting with Netanyahu – and remembering the risk for peace that Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin took, that Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat took – I asked him what he was willing to risk for peace. He said it would make his security very uncomfortable, but that he was willing to go to Ramallah to talk with Abbas. My father challenged a “no talk” policy in the US in the late 1970s because, he argued, if you talk, you can act, and if you act, you can change things. Our delegation took that message to leaders of the PA, but not all of them agreed that the symbolic gesture of Netanyahu crossing over into their territory to meet with Palestinian leadership in Ramallah would have any profound effect. I think such an initiative could be a nonviolent step toward peace.

I also know that if the Palestinians abandoned violence, launched a nonviolent active resistance movement and established a demonstrated history of nonviolent struggle against their occupation, it would inevitability change the view of the Palestinian struggle in the court of world opinion, strengthen the cause of Palestinian statehood and speed up the day of its realization – whatever the outcome of the UN vote this September.

In Washington on August 28, the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial will be unveiled on the 48th anniversary of his “I Have a Dream” speech. When he gave that speech, he was factoring in 246 years of slavery and another 98 years of legal segregation and ongoing discrimination.

Most thought he was confronted with two limited “change” options: 1) the bloody and ineffective choice of violence; or 2) the weak and ineffective choice of gradualism and non-confrontation.

He chose a third path – a life of nonviolent active resistance and a willingness to endure unearned suffering.

He chose the nonviolent path to peace and greater justice so future generations could prosper and progress, a path that made Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr. and President Barack Obama possible in 1995 and 2008 respectively. The violent path would have made both of our elections impossible in our time and created a “memory” that would have perpetuated a cycle of violence and revenge for past incidents that would have lasted into the foreseeable future.

One of the many lessons taught by Dr. King in his philosophy of nonviolence was that our means and ends should remain as close together as possible.

Clearly the historical and ongoing bad experiences of African Americans in the US, and the past experiences and continuing occupation of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza by Israel, are both wrong, but the path of hate, terrorism, rockets, missiles and even throwing rocks in hatred is not the path to a lasting peace or greater justice, or the path to statehood in the relatively near future.

Recognizing Israel as the homeland of the Jewish people, renouncing violence and pursuing a path of nonviolent active resistance will gain Palestinians world-wide support and – sooner rather than later – a positive vote for statehood at the UN.

And it would be a goal that Palestinians deserve and will have earned in a manner that allows peace, justice and security between Israel and the PA to be more likely, and makes future reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians easier to achieve. Nonviolence is a way of life that will guarantee peaceful coexistence in the future and the eventual goal of a demilitarized region.

I find it very difficult to see how those who support peace and justice for Israelis and Palestinians can object to Jackson's  call for a non-violent solution. Jackson's position takes the interests of both sides into consideration, and, more to the point, provide a basis for both sides to renew a search for a mutually acceptable compromise.  That a purportedly pro-peace progressive should mock those words in such offensive terms speaks volumes about his poor judgement.  Those on either side of the debate who reflexively mock peace advocates for considering both Israeli and Palestinian interests should be regarded as what they are: obstacles on the road to peace.

An Afterthought: 

I would like to point out to those who may object to Rep. Jackson's comparing the Palestinian situation to that of African-Americans under Jim Crow that Jackson, in fact makes several significant distinctions in the course of making that comparison.  He writes that Israelis are motivated by a desire to live in peace and security in their homeland.  He writes that Israeli interests are worthy of consideration.  He writes that he not only sees in Israel's leadership a recognition of the need to compromise, he actually elicited an unconditional proposal on their part to discuss those compromises with the Palestinian leadership.  The views of those who seek to demonize Israel notwithstanding, none of those points could conceivably be said to be true of the Jim Crow South.

I would also like to point out that the very obvious fact that Palestinian suffering, during the period of occupation by Jordan and Egypt, under Israeli occupation, under the PLO, and under Hamas, has been considerable.  Those who would disparage that suffering in the name of supporting Israel do their cause a considerable disservice.  Similarly, supporters of Israel who would reflexively condemn Jackson's acknowledgement of that suffering as indicating his bias completely miss the point of Jackson's column.  The gist of his column is the proposition that both sides work harder to recognize the realities faced by the other in the interest of reaching a mutually satisfactory resolution.  No one of good faith on either side should find fault with that.

I will admit that I consider Jackson's concluding statement in favor of the ultimate goal of a "demilitarized region", by which he means a region without armed forces, to be completely unreasonable.  While such an aspiration shows several admirable qualities, a recognition of the realities of human nature and international relations are not among them.  Maybe we can attribute this statement to Rep. Jackson's parentage; those who have spent a great deal of time among the religious are prone to seeking utopias of various types.  Thankfully, having grown up in a liberal, non-fundamentalist environment, such visions of future perfection do not distract Rep. Jackson from the realities at hand, which he shows every sign of approaching with admirable pragmatism.  Lions lying down with lambs should not be a precondition to Middle East peace.

Guardian lies to defend deadly terrorist attack on Israelis

The bodies of the seven innocent civilians killed in a Palestinian terrorist attack on an Israeli bus are not yet cold, but the Guardian has already published two deceptive reports designed to justify their murder. (Read here: How the Guardian downplays terrorist attack on innocent Israelis � CiF Watch) In the attack, a civilian bus was strafed by multiple automatic weapons while travelling to the Israeli resort town Eilat near the border with Egypt. The Guardian deceptively reported the attack as being on "a bus carrying soldiers", presumably based on the fact that there were some off duty soldiers among the passengers. In this way, the Guardian cynically attempts to deceive their readers into believing that a terrorist act resulting in the deaths of innocent civilians was, in fact,aimed at the Israeli military.

Even taking into consideration the Guardian's longstanding bias against Israel, this rush on their part to rationalize the arbitrary slaughter of civilians is heartless and outrageous.

CiF Watch has posted the following screen shots of the Guardian's coverage of the attack which resulted in the deaths of Israeli civilians.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Anti-immigrant bias at the Guardian

The Guardian's Harriet Sherwood doesn't like those who immigrated from the former Soviet Union to Israel and she isn't afraid to say so in the Guardian (although she is careful to put her most hateful views in the mouths of others). (Read here.)

(T)hey almost overwhelmed Israel, causing a severe housing crisis. Many eventually settled in Russian enclaves in cities such as Ashdod, Petah Tikva and Haifa – and in expanding West Bank settlements, such as Ariel.

"It was a very different type of immigration," said Lily Galili, an Israeli journalist writing a book about the impact of the tidal wave from the former Soviet Union. "The didn't want to integrate. They wanted to lead. They changed the nature of the country."


"Unfortunately they [immigrants from former Soviet states] have changed the nature of democracy in Israel," said Galili. "There's a certain amount of exaggeration – many things may have changed without them. But they have a different concept of democracy. And they have strengthened and given confidence to the [homegrown] secular rightwing."

A year ago the former US president Bill Clinton caused a furore when he said Russian-speaking Israelis were "an obstacle to peace with the Palestinians".

Russian immigrants were among "the hardest-core people against a division of the land ... They've just got there, it's their country, they've made a commitment to the future there. They can't imagine any historical or other claims that would justify dividing it," Clinton was quoted in Foreign Policy magazine as saying.

Galili pointed to "some sense of alienation between Russian immigrants and native-born Israelis. There is not much social interaction. There are still places for 'Russians' that 'Israelis' don't go and aren't wanted – and vice versa."

But, she added, there would be no going back. "For many years the joke was that Israel had become the 51st state of the US. Instead we have become just another Soviet republic. It's quite a twist in the story."

Would the editors of the Guardian print such things about any other immigrant group in the world?

The blog CIF Watch has posted a column rebutting the Guardian's blanket condemnation of an entire ethnic group with the words of Anastasia, a Soviet emigre to Israel. Anastasia writes:

I am beyond furious at [Harriet Sherwood's] article!

[What she says about Russians] couldn’t be any farther from the truth.

As an immigrant who’s been living here most of my life, I consider myself to be 110% ISRAELI and not Russian or Kazakh (I was born in the republic of Kazakhstan).

My mother is Jewish but I have many friends whose mother are in fact non-Jewish but are similarly supremely dedicated to this country.

It is absolute rubbish that immigrants integrated little and live mostly in “Russian enclaves”.

Many such “unintegrated Russians” are married to “Sabras” (Israelis who were born in Israel), give their kids Israeli names and many even refuse to speak Russian anymore.

This LIE [regarding the] lack of integration is evident everywhere.

I, as with most of the “unintegrated Russians”, have served in the army and, in fact, many of these “unintegrated Russian” young men go to become fighters and officers in the army and fight and DIE side by side with Israel-born soldiers!

We study all together in schools and universities and despite there being “Russian” hang-out places, it is SIMPLY NOT TRUE that [non-Russian] Israelis are NOT wanted there. The FIB that Russians created a housing problem is [also simply not true]. Russians did not come to parasite on this country. They finished “Ulpan” (Hebrew classes for immigrants) and right away began searching for jobs. They can now be found in every single workplace including hospitals, courts, and the media (NOT ONLY Russian media).

The fact that Harriet Sherwood makes a point of singling out Russians is a total double standard. And the following quote by the Russian-hating Israeli journalist, whom [Sherwood] must have had to dig out from some very dark place, which claims “…alienation between Russian immigrants and native-born Israelis [exist because] there is not much social interaction” is also simply not true.

Most of my friends are Israelis, many of my friends are married to Israelis, we party, travel and do everything together! And the older generation is the same.

In short, [Sherwood] evidently didn’t have anything to report about and found, in the much maligned Russian community, a convenient target and scapegoat.

I couldn't agree with Anastasia more.

Now about Bill Clinton: the former president was apparently in a professorial mood when he addressed a meeting of his group Clinton Global Initiative in September 2010. He used that opportunity to expound upon the demographic breakdown of which groups of Israelis stand where with respect to support for peace efforts. (Read here.) Oddly, his thumbnail analysis broke down Israelis into the following groups: Sabras, Ashkenazi immigrants and their children, Moroccan immigrants, and immigrants from the former Soviet Union. He cast the first two of those groups as supporters of peace, the Soviet immigrants as opponents of peace, and the "Moroccans" as the swing vote. I would call Clinton's statement an oversimplification, but that term doesn't do justice to its sheer distortion of a number of complex issues. Setting aside Clinton's idiotic use of the term "Moroccan" to indicate immigrants to Israel from Arab and other Muslim countries, his categories all contain both proponents and opponents of a variety of positions with respect to possible peace proposals. Clinton's casting of the peace process as a monolithic concept which certain ethnic groups support while others oppose not only distorts the complexities of both Israeli politics and the range of potential peace proposals, it serves to further polarize the groups he spoke about. His statement was not only ignorant, it was bigoted, and served to perpetuate the very divisions it purported to oppose.

That assessment of Clinton's statement applies equally to Sherwood's article in the Guardian. It is bigoted, and it serves to perpetuate through its bigotry the very divisions it decries. Such views serve as an obstacle to building the coalitions within Israel for seeking peace. Proponents of peace would do well to avoid resorting to gross ethnic generalizations which tend to polarize rather than bring people together.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Member of Episcopal Executive Council for California calls Christian emigres to Israel racist, fascist Jews

In a column written for the Episcopal News Service, Rev. Vicki Gray has made incendiary and bigoted comments concerning Christian emigres to Israel from the former Soviet Union. (Read here.) In describing a conference concerning Christians in the Holy Land (about which she apparently learned from news accounts), Rev. Gray writes:

Almost amusingly, Rabbi Daniel Sperber of Tel Aviv's Bar-Ilan University reportedly told the conference not to worry … "the churches are full" thanks to Filipino guest workers and 50,000 Christians who have immigrated from the former Soviet Union. These latter "Christians," he failed to note, are for the most part Soviet "Jews" who have made aliyah to Israel and brought with them racist, fascist attitudes that have given rise to neo-Soviet policies that would discriminate against Palestinians and Filipinos alike and, in the process, threaten Israeli democracy.

That a member of the clergy of a major American denomination would publish blanket charges of racism and fascism against tens of thousands of refugees from Soviet oppression speaks to a severe lack of good judgement on her part, as does her questioning without basis the validity of their Christian faith.  That she chooses to also label them as Jews, a term which she mysteriously puts in quotation marks, speaks to the intrinsic bigotry underlying her statement.

Rev. Gray is described in a mini-bio attached to a posting of the column as being "deacon at Christ the Lord Church in Pinole, California and a member of the Executive Council of the Diocese of California"; in another mini-bio, she is described as being "a member of the Episcopal Peace Fellowship."  She and her superiors in the Episcopal Church need to address how someone in positions of authority within that denomination could publish such a gross and bigoted slander concerning an ethnic minority.  Similarly, the organization Friends of Sabeel North America, which chose to post this outrageous column on their website (read here), need to explain their tacit endorsement of its contents.

CORRECTION (8/13/2011 10:30 AM):
An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that Rev. Gray is a member of the Episcopal Executive Council.  In fact, she serves on the Episcopal Executive Council for the California Diocese.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Medea Benjamin plays the loyalty card; Code Pink fights "pillaging of mud"

Medea Benjamin, leader of the activist group Code Pink, has accused members of congress who are visiting Israel this summer of being disloyal. (Read here: OpEdNews - Article: Does Your Congressperson Represent You -- Or Israel?)

Tellingly, she illustrates that column with an almost 10 year old photograph of Paul Wolfowitz addressing a pro-Israel rally in front of the capitol building. Time was that such accusations of disloyalty, also frequently focused on Jews, were the stuff of the far right. I guess that McCarthyite impulse has crossed the left-right barrier.

As if all that wasn't bad enough, Benjamin writes in that blog post that

"Going on an AIPAC-sponsored trip to Israel is the moral equivalent of using an Anglo-Boer travel company to visit apartheid-era South Africa."

That lying comparison never gets old for some people.

Code Pink also tweeted today that they are campaigning for the travel guidebook company Lonely Planet to stop listing Ahava stores in their guidebooks. When I tweeted back to ask why, the response I got from the Boycott Ahava campaign, which is working with Code Pink on this boycott effort, indicated that they charge Ahava with "pillaging mud" for use in its cosmetics. (Read here.) They claim that, because Ahava works with a kibbutz located in an otherwise uninhabited area of the Dead Sea coast just over the 1967 border, the mud used is a "pillaged natural resource" (although they haven't offered any evidence that the mud is sourced from the kibbutz). All this alleged pillaging of mud, they claim, violates international law. Considering that the legal issues concerning that kibbutz are not clear, that the source of the mud used by Ahava may not even be from that kibbutz, and that the "pillaged" material in question is mud which is hardly in short supply, this issue seems to be entirely manufactured in order to push for the boycott of an Israeli import. Nobody is harmed in any way by Ahava's operations, so nobody would be helped by such a boycott.

I can't imagine that Code Pink would be worried about this alleged pillaging of mud were it not for the fact that they're looking for ways to demonize and isolate Israel by promoting BDS. They can prove me wrong of course. All they have to do is campaign to defend mud which they feel is being pillaged by any country other than Israel.

I just noticed that Boycott Ahava has followed up with a tweet saying that their campaign is supported by MeretzUSA, B'tselem and "12 rabbis". They didn't indicate if those 12 rabbis constitute the entire membership of the two organizations they cited.

UPDATE: (8/11/2011 11:00 AM)

A comment posted to the Facebook link to this post indicates that Ahava purchases Dead Sea mud from Jordanian businesses.  That would make Ahava an example of the sort of Arab-Israeli cooperation one would think that pro-peace groups would want to support, not boycott.

"Intifada Palestine" website: Norway massacre done by Jewish-Masonic conspiracy.

The "Intifada Palestine" website and Facebook group are promoting a conspiracy theory blaming a conspiracy of Jews and Freemasons for the massacre of Norwegian school children committed by Anders Breivik on July 22. It's sick stuff. Intifada Palestine claims that this worldwide conspiracy planned and executed the massacre, and charges that the Norwegian government is secretly infiltrated by Freemasons and Mossad agents. They claim that this conspiracy involves a massive cover-up by the news media -- or as they call it, "the Zionist-controlled media". Read it here: Massacre In Norway: Mossad Strikes Again Under ‘Lone Gunman’ Cover | Intifada Palestine

Here's a quote:

Anders Behring Breivik’s initiated friends in the Oslo police department and Norwegian security services; fellow Freemasons, sworn to secrecy through the blood oath of the order and who work for the betterment of any Masonic brother in need. Revealing secrets of the order is punishable by death. Norway’s security establishment in particular has been controlled by Freemasonry since at least 1957. But Breivik is no mere Freemason. No, Breivik is part of a Masonic terror organization that is closely allied with the Zionist entity. It is essential to note, that Freemasonry would not exist without the Jewish mystical practice known as ‘Kabbalah,’ an esoteric set of teachings rooted in devil worship and anti-Gentile xenophobia.

The goal of this purported Satanic conspiracy to kill Norwegian children, Intifada Palestine alleges, is preventing the United Nations from officially recognizing the Palestine, although the logic for how this would work seems . . . cloudy.

Breivik honed his skills, perfected his tactics and learned how to develop bombs in pine forest ‘training camps’ with a ‘neo-Nazi’ group known as The Vikings. Intelligence sources from Pakistan and Norway have revealed to Mask of Zion [a pseudonym used by the column's author] that The Vikings are the farthest thing from neo-Nazis and have sinisterly used the label as a front. The Vikings are a proxy of the Zionist entity’s Mossad, and have served as the European branch of Israel’s Dragon Policy operation since 2001. Weapons, funds to build camps and set up cells and high-level paramilitary training have been provided to The Vikings by a Mossad team stationed in Oslo. Mossad’s movement between camps and headquarters was/is protected by its Freemasonic allies in Norway’s terribly corrupted security establishment. The Vikings are part of a 10-year operational ‘standby’ plan to balkanize any European nation that is not prepared to adhere to the Zionist regime’s ‘Greater Israel’ vision. Several cells have been set up throughout Europe with ‘sleeping orders,’ awaiting activation. Norway was the first target and the operations base.

This intelligence is confirmed by Zionist asset and Breivik object of admiration Daniel Pipes, who just so happens to foresee Europe entering a state of “protracted civil conflict” in a matter of a few short years. Just two days after the Norway attacks, Zionist Defense Minister and war criminal Ehud Barak stated that “Israel must exert all efforts” in stopping UN recognition of a Palestinian state (bantustan) in September. He specifically mentioned Europe as Zionism’s main target in this mobilization.

The explanation of the conspiracy theory continues by somehow bringing Wikileaks and the Rothschilds into the picture:

In the modern era, no geopolitical analysis would be complete without the mentioning of the world’s ‘finest whistleblower,’ Wikileaks. Anders Behring Breivik stated that he had been planning his attack since 2009 and by some mystical, odd, magical coincidence, Wikileaks released ‘cables’ from 2009 on the exact same day of Breivik’s rampage that Norway was “in over its head” in regards to a terror attack, going further to state that Norway “felt immune to terrorism” and was “unprepared.” When it is taken into consideration that Julian Assange is an agent of the Rothschild family, the Zionist entity’s godfathers, and the Wikileaks organization is a Mossad-CIA ‘limited hangout operation’ designed to control dissent in a re-branding of COINTELPRO and attack ‘hostile’ nations with psychological warfare, it can easily be deducted that the release of these ‘cables’ was the usurping Israeli regime’s way of gloating as Norway coped with the tragedy.

It is now known that Anders Behring Breivik traveled to the Zionist entity several times before the July 22nd operation. What isn’t known is what Breivik’s reasons were for traveling to Zionist-governed historic Palestine, but based on the evidence presented in the previous section, it is of the strongest likelihood that Breivik made pilgrimage to the occupied holy land to receive additional orders from his Tel Aviv paymasters. The target of Breivik and his accomplice in Oslo was Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Breivik has now admitted that his target on Ut√łya Island was former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, commonly referred to as the ‘the mother of the nation.’ These were assassination attempts and they overtly wreak of Mossad involvement. But why didn’t Kidon, Mossad’s high-level assassination unit, pull the trigger directly? And furthermore, why didn’t Israel use its typical ‘Islamic fundamentalist’ patsies for the operation?

The answers are relatively simple. July 22nd, 2011 was a Friday. An ‘Islamic fundamentalist’ carrying out a terror attack when he should be in the masjid (mosque) performing Salat al-Jumu’ah (mandatory Friday prayers) doesn’t make much sense, now does it? Every operation that the Zionist entity carries out has a psychological warfare aspect to it. By unveiling its European Dragon Policy operatives, Tel Aviv was sending an intimidating message to the governments of Europe: ‘fall in line or you will be struck; any place, any time, by people that look just like you.’ Friday also represents the start of the Jewish Sabbath, taking Mossad’s Kidon unit (reportedly comprised entirely of religious Jews) out of the picture. Enter Breivik, who played his role as ‘shabbos goy’ to the letter. ‘Shabbos goy,’ is a Yiddish phrase that simply means a gentile who provides assistance to Jews during the Sabbath. But in the modern sense, in the fields of intelligence and war, a ‘shabbos goy’ is a gentile who would literally (and willingly) kill for the Zionist state.

The column concludes by claiming that Israel committed this attack, the Mumbai terrorist attack, and 9/11, motivated both by a belief in numerology, and by an adherence to what it describes as the "twisted" religion of Judaism:

While many will dismiss the idea of a Zionist-Masonic alliance as laughable, delusional or the all-time favorite, “conspiracy theory,” there is an undeniable link that exists between the Talmudic enclave built upon ethnically cleansed Palestinian land and the satanic secret society that has had a prominent, clandestine hand in world events for centuries. One needs to look no further than the buildings and lodges donated to the Zionist entity by its founders, the international banking giants and originators, the Rothschild family, who are rumored to “own” 80% of historic Palestine. Literally, Freemasonry is written all over each massive structure. The reason why this connection needs to be discussed is painfully significant. The Zionist regime is exceedingly precise in carrying out its intelligence operations of death and destruction on anniversaries, on Jewish holidays or on days with deeper, “spiritual” meaning in the Kabbalist-Masonic context of “sacred geometry.”

Examples: Mossad’s false flag attack on September 11th, 2001; in Kabbalistic teaching, the numbers (9/11) represent the day in which the religion of the world becomes one of which that requires its followers to disbelieve in ‘God’ on earth and believe that all life on earth should be annihilated. Leading 9/11 researcher, journalist, writer, professor and scholar Kevin Barrett described the September 11th attacks as “a mass human sacrifice designed to ritually inaugurate a New World Order of global government by Satanists and atheists.” It is also 11 years to the day that George Bush’s father called for such a ‘New World Order.’ Next, one of Mossad’s false flag attacks in Mumbai and the infamous train bombings in Madrid; the events of both attacks were overwrought with Kabbalistic numerology, the destructive number 11 in particular. Also, the criminal, genocidal, Zionist invasions of Iraq and Libya; both nations were invaded on the twisted Jewish revenge holiday of Purim, in which the blood of the Amalekites (in this case, Arabs) must be spilled for the ‘Jewish people’ to rejoice in victory.

And now: the 7/22 (‘oddly enough,’ the sum of the numbers is Kabbalistic 11) atrocities in Norway; 65 years to the day that terrorism in the Middle East was born, when the deranged and mass murdering Irgun militia, led by future Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, bombed the King David Hotel in al-Quds, killing at least 92 people. This sanguinary operation paved the way for the Zionist entity to be established. It is an event that is celebrated to this day by Zionists, including the butcher of Gaza himself and current leader of the occupation, Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Intifada Palestine column cites a Press TV interview ("Zionist trail in Norway terror attacks") with someone called Peter Eyre as its primary source for the "facts" underlying this conspiracy theory. (Read here.) Press TV identifies Eyre as a "consultant" with an expertise in the Middle East, although I can find little trace of him other than his blog (read here). The Press TV article, in spite of its headline, offers no evidence other than Peter Eyre's say-so of Breivik's connection to Israel. Eyre, in turn, offers no evidence for his claim, and admits that he doesn't really have any, repeatedly saying that he believes that Israel was involved, but can't say for certain.

For the masonic connection, Intifada Palestine cites a post by Gordon Duff at his blog Veterans Today as its source. Duff's promotion of bizarre conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial have led other conspiracy theory advocates to accuse him of being an agent provocateur tasked with discrediting the movement. Apparently Intifada Palestine hasn't gotten that memo, however. They rely on a convoluted column by Duff called "Secret Terror, the Price of Ignorance" for the charge that the Norwegian government has been infiltrated by a cabal of Freemasons. (Read here.) Duff helpfully includes in his column a video of a 1961 speech by John F. Kennedy against both communism and the United States excessively resorting to the use of official secrecy in opposing communism. Duff absurdly claims that Kennedy was warning not against potential excesses in fighting the Cold War, but about a worldwide conspiracy of Freemasons and Jews. The YouTube posting of this video labels it "J.F. Kennedy talks about secret devils, (Masons & Illuminati)".  Watch it for yourself, and see whether you see it as a evidence that an occult conspiracy controls the world.

I feel sad for the poor, benighted individuals who, based either on support for the Palestinians or on fear of what they cannot understand, accept the drivel published by these people as true. That Intifada Palestine would promote this to its thousands of followers speaks for itself.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Alan Hart predicts Palestinian "final solution", supports Assad and Nasrallah

Alan Hart has told interviewers that, on 9/11, Mossad agents using cell phone equipped with transponders steered the planes that hit the World Trade Center.  He went on to explain that this did not bring down the towers. He says that the building were brought down by what he calls "controlled ground explosions".  (Read here.)   He went on to state in that interview that Israel had stolen several nuclear weapons from U.S. military bases which it intends to explode in U.S. cities. When asked for his evidence, he told his interviewer (the former University of Wisconsin instructor and current podcaster and Holocaust denier Kevin Barrett) that he had it, but that he couldn't provide it at that time because it was on a computer he did not have with him. Although Hart had a career as a journalist (he actually worked as a correspondent for ITN and BBC about 30 - 40 years ago), he somehow has failed to perceive that he has uncovered the greatest news story of the past century -- maybe of all time -- and follow up on his revelations with the the evidence which will put him in the pantheon of the greatest journalists ever. Either that, or he made up all the whole thing and he's a completely unreliable nutter posing as a reliable source. I choose the latter.

Not everyone agrees with me on this, of course. RT, the Russia Today network, provide him with a forum, as does the Iranian regime's English language propaganda outlet Press TV. On Press TV, Hart hosts an interview show where his guests have included Norman Finkelstein, John Pilger and Ilan Pappe.  In the U.S., Hart has been a guest on Alex Jones meshuga conspiracy theory radio program, Kevin Barrett's "9/11 truth" podcast, and the public access TV show hosted by Hesham Tillawi.  Hart also writes a regular column for the the atrocious hate website dishonestly called Veterans Today. (If calling a website devoted to hate speech, Holocaust denial and conspiracy theories by that name isn't an insult to veterans, nothing is.)

With all that, Hart has recently come out with the following dire prediction in a blog post he wrote in support of a column by David Hearst which appeared in the Guardian last week:

"Zionism’s in-Israel leaders [may] create a pretext (possibly involving Mossad agents dressed as Arabs planting bombs) to go for a final round of ethnic cleansing – to drive the Palestinians off the West Bank and into Jordan or wherever.

"It's because I believe a Zionist Final Solution . . . is a real possibility in a foreseeable future that I think a way should be found for the major powers, led by America, to put Israel on public notice that if it did resort to a final round of ethnic cleansing, it would be universally condemned as a criminal state and subjected to sanctions of every kind, universally applied."

That column can be read at his blog here: “Could Arab (Palestinian) staying power ultimately defeat Zionism?” or, with insane Veterans Today comment string attached, here.

To restate his comment, Alan Hart writes that Israel may be planning to carry out terrorist attacks on itself in order to blame them on Palestinians. He alleges that this will be the pretext for Israel to expel Palestinians from the West Bank. To prevent this, he proposes that the international community warn Israel that such behavior would be sanctioned.

And this is nothing new for Hart.  Back in July 2010, he told a Russia Today interviewer (read here):

“I think Israel’s leaders will invent a pretext to drive the Palestinians off the West Bank, into Jordan, Syria or wherever. And the blood will flow. The West Bank will be soaked with blood, it will be mostly Palestinian blood… That wouldn’t be the end of the story. It would so inflame Arab and Muslim masses that you will be opening the Pandora’s Box of a much wider conflict.”

If those absurd predictions and recommendations don't impeach Alan Hart as a source, what will?  How about the fact that, as recently as April 28, 2011, he was still defending Bashar Assad? At that time, he told a Russia Today interviewer (read here) that:

I don’t think young Assad is in control. I think Assad is probably more or less a prisoner of his generals and the security services. He gave the world the impression when he came to power 10-11 years ago that he was going to be, not like his father who was a tyrant, he was going to a reformer. I suspect that probably was the genuine “son of the father”, but I think right now he is probably, as I would say, a prisoner. And they are just going to shoot, and shoot, and shoot. And rather like the Israelis don’t give a damn about what the world thinks, I don’t think Syria’s security forces will either.

Hart went to say in that interview that he believes Hasan Nasrallah to be the Middle East's greatest statesman, a champion of democracy, and that Hafez Assad was a puppet of Israel:

I also think Hezbollah has vested interest in what is going on here. I mean, I am not one of those who write Hezbollah off as a terrorist group. I think Sheik Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s leader, is head and shoulders above all other Arab leaders in the region. I think he is a real leader, and I think Hezbollah has evolved into a truly democratic party. So, I don’t think it would want any boats rocked either.

But if Syria were to fall, I think you are really asking me what would happen. Well, I don’t think Syria will fall to the extent that I can’t see a scenario in which Syrian security doesn’t remain in control. And what the world doesn’t know about Syria is that for many years under this present president’s father, it actually cooperated with Israel. It was actually at times an Israeli puppet. In the 1967 war – I tell the full story of this in my book – there was a secret understanding between Syria and Israel before the ‘67 war. So Syria plays its cards very, very well to survive in this region. It’s much too early to write off the regime there in my view.
In a more recent interview with RT, Hart impugns the motives for Western opposition to Bashar Assad's brutality, saying (read here):

The interest of the West is in getting rid of the minority ruling group of the country.  I would assume that British and US policies want Syria detached from Iran.

On another subject, Alan Hart recently used the mass-murder committed by the Norwegian Anders Breivik as an occasion to blame those crimes on Israel.  (Read here.)  In that column, Hart writes:

From the obscenity of the Nazi holocaust to the present, Zionism’s success in selling its propaganda lies as truth is the reason why the search for peace based on an acceptable amount of justice for the Palestinians has been, and remains, a mission impossible .  . . It’s bad enough that Zionist propaganda has prevented a cure for it, but if now that same propaganda is inspiring Europeans in Europe to slaughter their own, the future is very, very frightening.

In that column, Hart fails to indicate what lies about the Holocaust Zionists promote, or how Israel promoted or benefits from the massacre of Norwegian children.

I have no doubt that Alan Hart truly believes the apocalyptic scenarios he imagines to be true, and that he tells the truth when he says that they frighten him.  That he and the media outlets which enable him choose to frighten others with these mad fantasies and give them an air of reality for a credulous, biased or delusional audience does a disservice to everyone, regardless of political opinion.

My prior writing about Alan Hart is available here.  I recommend that readers check out David Aaronovitch's recent column for the Jewish Chronicle, Anti-Zionists Having a Laugh, for more on Hart.  That column describes a recent conference which Hart headlined during which Jews were blamed for causing the Holocaust.  Gilad Atzmon, who made that charge, found it amusing that Jews wouldn't understand why they were to blame. Also for your consideration, from a website promoting Gilad Atzmon, is Alan Hart's amusing description of himself as a "covert diplomat in the Middle East".  (Read here.)  He doesn't indicate on which government's behalf he served in this capacity.  Clearly, Alan Hart has a very tenuous grasp of the difference between reality and his fevered imagination.

Anti-Israel activist supports checkpoints . . . in the U.K.

Kareem Dennis, the British anti-Israel activist and rapper who calls himself Lowkey, has come out in favor of checkpoints . . . in the U.K. He writes via Twitter:

Might be a time for organised community checkpoints. Money needs to be invested in our youth, not in wars abroad. Connect and organise.
[Read here: Twitter / @LowkeyMusic1: Might be a time for organi ...]

While "Lowkey" tempers his call for vigilante checkpoints with the non sequitur insertion of a boilerplate call to end foreign wars and fund domestic programs, it does seem oddly out of character for this opponent of checkpoints in the West Bank to support of them in London.  When Israeli neighborhoods are threatened with senseless violence, he sees the use of checkpoints to defend them to be a crime against humanity.   When his neighborhood is threatened, the utility of checkpoints becomes evident.

In 2009, "Lowkey" actually instigated mob violence when he rapped to angry anti-Israel demonstrators in London that money spent at Starbucks goes to support Israeli troops.  (See below-embedded video at about the 1:40 mark.)

That video, which is posted to YouTube under the headline "lowkey arab british rapper protesting against jew zionist genocide in palestine", shows the rap that contemporaneous press accounts say motivated a mob of several dozen of his audience members to loot and vandalize nearby Starbucks shops.  (Read here and here.) The mob was inspired to do this by Lowkey's absurd statement that "You say you know about the Zionist lobby, but you put money in their pockets every time you’re buying their coffee."

While I don't claim to be a critic of hip hop, I know enough to be able to say for certain that Lowkey's fame, such as it is, does not derive from his skills as a rapper.  His incompetence in this regard would get him laughed out of the hip hop marketplace here in the U.S.

While I strongly believe that Lowkey is known solely for his political activism, not for his rapping, the statement of support he received from noted hip hop impresario Tony Benn may speak to the contrary position.  Benn wrote of one of Lowkey's records that it "speaks to people about the struggle of the Palestinians and their fight for freedom. By buying it you, your friends and your colleagues can show support for the Palestinian people in their hour of need. The single is supported by Stop the War Coalition, Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Viva Palestina. I hope we can count on yours too".  Tony Benn says to buy Lowkey's record to show your support for the Palestinian people, although he doesn't specify exactly  how this support will reach them.  In that respect, it has a lot in common with donations made to Viva Palestina.  Keepin' it real, Tony.

Lowkey's proposal that London residents set up neighborhood roadblocks of the kind set up in Cairo last spring is an extremely foolish idea which nobody should take seriously enough to attempt.  What London needs least right now is more mob violence.  That such an idea comes from someone who has encouraged such violence in the past by spreading false conspiracy theories speaks to the poor judgement behind it.


adamhollandblog [AT] gmail [DOT] com