London BDS is pleased to announce that a video about Benny Morris with footage of what really happened on his visit to London has now been released. People should draw their own conclusions about why Benny Morris referred in a press interview to ‘Brownshirts’, ‘Muslim mobs’ and ‘broken English’.
Benny Morris gave numerous interviews after his lecture at the London School of Economics in June 2011. Typical of these was his interview with The National Interest Magazine in which he claimed that he was accosted outside the lecture by a Muslim mob:
“As I walked down Kingsway, a major London thoroughfare, a small mob—I don’t think any other word is appropriate—of some dozen Muslims, Arabs and their supporters, both men and women, surrounded me and, walking alongside me for several hundred yards as I advanced towards the building where the lecture was to take place, raucously harangued and bated me with cries of “fascist,” “racist,” “England should never have allowed you in,” “you shouldn’t be allowed to speak.” Several spoke in broken, obviously newly acquired, English. Violence was thick in the air though none was actually used. Passersby looked on in astonishment, and perhaps shame, but it seemed the sight of angry bearded, caftaned Muslims was sufficient to deter any intervention. To me, it felt like Brownshirts in a street scene in 1920s Berlin—though on Kingsway no one, to the best of my recall, screamed the word ‘Jew’.”
Please take the time to watch the whole video – it’s a good guide to Benny Morris and what he stands for. The encounter with Benny Morris on London’s Kingsway is also included.
An article to accompany the highly-recommended 34 minute video can be found here.
If you don’t have time to spare, an abridged version commences at 30.00 min.
With much fanfare, the Peace Team has come once again to Australia to compete in the Australian Football League International Cup. Indeed, what can be more appealing for those of us who are passionate about peace in Israel/Palestine than to welcome this team of Palestinian Israeli youth who have learned to play and interact together not as enemies but as teammates? The answer: the idea that when members of this team return to their homes, the Palestinian players would not have to go through dehumanizing checkpoints, around high barbed wire walls and into Bantustans surrounded and suffocated by a matrix of Jewish-only roads, settlements and security zones.
The AFL Peace Team was created in 2008 in order to compete in the AFL International Cup. It is made up of an equal number of Israeli and Palestinian players supported by the Israeli Peres Center – an Israeli organization that aims to promote “peace and reconciliation”. However, the team has come under heavy criticism from Palestinian and other human rights groups who insist that reconciliation is the process of bringing two people together and establishing friendly ties between them after an argument or a disagreement has ended. Reconciliation is the healing phase and as such, cannot be implemented while the environment that breeds the mistrust and the conflict continues to exist.
So far this year, Israel has announced the building of thousands more new Jewish-only homes on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank. According to UN agencies and human rights groups, Palestinian homes have been demolished by Israel at record rates this year. Israel still maintains a crippling inhumane siege against Palestinians in Gaza while it continues to pursue a process of Judaization in East Jerusalem that is rapidly driving Palestinian residents out of their homes to be replaced by Jewish settlers. In such an environment, how can reconciliation even begin?
The Peres Center fails to understand that peace cannot be achieved by parading Palestinians in the Peace Team around the world in efforts to showcase Israel’s ‘fair play’ in sports without even once addressing the real challenges Palestinian athletes face as a result of Israel’s 43 years of occupation and the devastating impact Israel’s policies have had on Palestinian sports and sports infrastructure. The Peres Center would have met its goals of laying the foundations of ‘peace and reconciliation’ better had it issued a statement calling on its government Israel to lift its crippling blockade and siege of Palestinian sports’ events and athletes.
While the peace team promotes the illusion that Palestinian athletes have equal opportunities to compete and to excel in their fields, in reality, the effect of Israel’s policies tell a different story. The Palestinian National Football (soccer) Team, which was founded in 1952 but only became recognized by FIFA after the creation of the Palestinian Authorities in 1998, has faced insurmountable challenges imposed by Israel aiming to isolate Palestinians in all fields, sports as well as academic, medical and cultural. This year, Israeli policies of occupation have sabotaged the Palestinian team putting them at a great disadvantage as key members of the team were prevented from traveling into the West Bank from Gaza.
This is not news for those who follow this conflict. Many Palestinian athletes have in the past suffered Israel’s blanket boycott on Palestinian sports. Palestinian Olympic players and youth teams are frequently denied both exit and re-entry when traveling from Gaza to the West Bank. In the qualifying rounds for the 2006 World Cup, five key players were prevented exit from Gaza by the Israeli authorities and so as a result Palestine failed to qualify. A year later the Palestine National Team was prevented by Israel from traveling to play a World Cup Qualifier in Singapore and so it was eliminated. In May 2008 the same team was unable to attend the AFC Challenge Cup, which meant they were denied qualification for the 2011 Asia Cup.
This system of Israeli permits that restrict and confine Palestinians, denying them their right to travel, reminds us of the “pass laws” of Apartheid South Africa that were put in place to limit the movement of Black South Africans and keep them in their segregated communities. Such blanket confinement of an entire population is a form of collective punishment and is in violation of Article 33 of the Geneva Conventions.
Unfortunately, Israel’s assault on Palestinian sports and athletes is not limited to its system of permits. During Operation Cast Lead in 2008-09 Israel’s indiscriminate bombardment of Gaza, which destroyed huge areas of the city, flattening houses, schools, hospitals and mosques also destroyed the Rafah National Stadium. Over 1,400 people in Gaza were killed including football players Ayman Alkurd, Shadi Sbakhe and Wajeh Moshate.
So while Israel’s Peres Center parades its token ‘peace team’ of Palestinian and Israeli athletes in a clear effort to normalize the occupation and to reduce the criticism and pressure Israel faces from human rights groups and the international community over its oppression of Palestinians, let us take a moment to consider the harsh conditions that Palestinian athletes endure in their daily lives. Of course an Israeli Palestinian team is worth celebrating, but only if it comes from an Israeli Palestinian society that is free of discrimination, where Palestinians and Israelis live as equals both on and off the playing field.
Samah Sabawi is an Australian Palestinian writer and political analyst. She is Public Advocate for Australian for Palestine.
TVA board to consider gamble completing Bellefonte Nuclear site
Later this month, the board of the Tennessee Valley Authority could take up a proposal to complete the Bellefonte nuclear power plant in northeast Alabama.
TVA administrators are conducting a campaign to gain public support for the project and nuclear energy in general despite a dangerous incident at a Japanese plant this year.
The Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station is a partially completed nuclear power plant located in Hollywood, Alabama. A total of four reactors have been proposed over a period of 40 years, and billions of dollars have been spent, but no electricity has yet been produced. The site has sat idle for more than 20 years and some spare parts have been taken from the two incomplete units.
In 1974, TVA announced it would build two 1,200 megawatt nuclear reactors at Bellefonte, located in Jackson County, Ala., and construction began on Unit 1 but was halted in 1988 because of decreased power demand. TVA kept the unit in deferred status until 2005, when it decided to cancel construction.
TVA says reviving the Bellefonte plant would cost about $4.8 billion and take several years…
Mr. Gundersen’s expert analysis identifies seven specific areas of risk that, in Fairewinds’ opinion, will cause further delays, additional costs, and even possible suspension of the Bellefonte project if TVA decides to move forward with its construction. They are:
1. Bellefonte’s Unique Design
2. Groundwater Intrusion That Is Weakening It’s Foundations
3. Missing Critical Nuclear Quality Assurance Documents and Complete Records
4. Cannibalization of Bellefonte’s Operating Systems
5. Containment Problems Unique to Bellefonte
6. Historical Precedent
7. Post-Fukushima Lessons Learned
Bellefonte Nuclear Generating Station http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bellefonte_Nuclear_Generating_Station
February 5, 2010
. . . I am convinced in my heart and in my mind that if the United States fails to stand with Israel, that is the end of the United States . . . [W]e have to show that we are inextricably entwined, that as a nation we have been blessed because of our relationship with Israel, and if we reject Israel, then there is a curse that comes into play. And my husband and I are both Christians, and we believe very strongly [Genesis 12:3], we believe very strongly that nations also receive blessings as they bless Israel. It is a strong and beautiful principle.
Right now in my own private Bible time, I am working through Isaiah . . . and there is continually a coming back to what God gave to Israel initially, which was the Torah and the Ten Commandments, and I have a wonderful quote from John Adams that if you will indulge me [while I find it] . . . [from his February 16, 1809 letter to François Adriaan van der Kemp]:
I will insist that the Hebrews have done more to civilize men than any other nation. If I were an atheist, and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations. If I were an atheist of the other sect, who believe or pretend to believe that all is ordered by chance, I should believe that chance had ordered the Jews to preserve and propagate to all mankind the doctrine of a supreme, intelligent, wise, almighty sovereign of the universe, which I believe to be the great essential principle of all morality, and consequently of all civilization.
. . . So that is a very long way to answer your question, but I believe that an explicit statement from us about our support for Israel as tied to American security, we would do well to do that.
I’ve been reading Judith Butler and Edward Said a lot lately. I’m interested in power dynamics and what it is that drives people to do terrible things in this world. When I came to Said’s commentary (The Question of Palestine, p.9) on the Zionist slogan of Israel Zangwill for Palestine – “A land without people for a people without land” – I was stirred. Suddenly I had flashes to all of those comments that I see posted all over the internet, on Youtube and Mondo. It was a very visceral reaction to Said’s words.
Some people argue that there has never been a land known as Palestine. Some of these people may point out that, within the Western construct of nation-states, the term “Palestine” has been used to denote a land in the Middle East only as an administrative term during the Roman Empire and then under British mandate in 1922 following the fall of the Ottoman Empire.
And I wanted to verbalize to some of my friends and acquaintances why I am ever frustrated by the refusal of Palestine, and to explain how this refusal constitutes racism and allows for continuing violence against the Palestinian people to this day.
An Arab people living, as they referred to it, in a land known as Palestine is documented back to at least the 7th century (Guy Le Strange, Palestine Under the Moslems: A Description of Syria and the Holy Land from A.D. 650 to 1500 Translated from the Works of the Medieval Arab Geographers).
But we needn’t consult a geographer or historian to recognize this as true. We just need to listen to a Palestinian.
And herein lies the problem that I have.
In order to listen to a Palestinian, one must be able to hear their voice, and to give that voice consideration and legitimation. The refusal to recognize a land known as Palestine coincides with the refusal to consider the Arab people who live there – to refuse to recognize their existence, their humanity, their mortality, and their voices.
And so refusing to recognize a land as Palestine and a people known as Palestinian actually is to refuse to recognize the violence that the Zionist project of Israel has inflicted upon the Arab people of Palestine, and to refuse to recognize the continuing violence of that project today.
Just earlier this week Israel authorized the construction of 1,600 homes in East Jerusalem – constituting even more land stolen from Palestinians for the state of Israel. The apartheid wall being built by Israel continues to confiscate Palestinian land for the exclusive use of Israelis. Farmers across the West Bank have their farmland taken and their crops destroyed. The blockade of Gaza at all ports of entry – land, sea, and air – does not allow for enough food or medical supplies to reach the 1.5 million people living there. The Palestinian people in the West Bank are allowed 50 gallons of water a day per household (the UN says that people need at least 75 gallons to survive) while the Israelis in the settlements of the West Bank use 250 gallons of water a day per household. Palestinian children are abducted and coerced by Israeli soldiers. Palestinians are harrassed at the over 200 Israeli checkpoints throughout the West Bank. Thousands of Palestinians linger in Israeli jails.
This is not historical violence. This is what is happening today, August 15th, 2011, in the Middle East.
And so, I want you to consider who it is that considers Palestinian voices. Why doesn’t the press talk about this violence inflicted upon the Palestinian people? Why don’t people – you, me, people the world over – protest this violence? What happens during the daily protests of Palestinians?
So every time you hear somebody say, “There has never been a country called Palestine,” I want you to consider this note. And I want you to say, “Hey! That’s racism” And then consider how that racism pervades our society. And fight back.
On Tuesday, Gaza disappeared from the world’s telecommunication networks for between 12 and 18 hours. This was an anxious time for both Gaza’s residents and those trying to contact friends, colleagues and loved ones from the outside.
The Gaza Strip, home to 1.6 million Palestinians, the vast majority of them refugees, depends on telecommunications to maintain a tenuous link to the outside world, from which it has been physically isolated due to five years of Israeli siege and blockade. The sudden cutoff also sparked fears of an imminent Israeli attack.
Though there was relief when communications were re-established, there has been no satisfactory explanation of the blackout, who was responsible for it, and whether or not it could happen again.
What happened to Gaza’s networks last week?
Ma’an News Agency was the first to report the problem, and a few Twitter users in Gaza remained online because they had BlackBerry service or were able to connect to the Orange network via its towers on the Israeli side of the boundary with Gaza.
The blackout has not been fully explained, and statements from Israeli and Palestinian officials are not consistent. The initial reports of Israeli bulldozers do not mention if the bulldozers were actually digging in the ground. One incident should not have disconnected the entire Gaza Strip, because there are multiple lines at different locations that connect Gaza’s networks to the West Bank. [...]
[An Israeli occupation forces] spokesperson denied involvement in the disconnection, but they were very specific about what they were denying. [...]
To repair broken equipment in Israel, the Palestinian companies that maintain them must either receive permission from the Israeli authorities or find an Israeli contractor to perform the work. During Israel’s three-week long assault on Gaza in 2008-09, millions of dollars of damage was done to Gaza’s telecommunications infrastructure, but even then, the network did not completely fail as it did last week.
Under the terms of the Oslo Accords, Israel agreed to allow Palestinians’ to develop an independent telecommunications infrastructure, but the communications infrastructure in West Bank and Gaza Strip remains completely dependent on Israel. In fact, Palestinians (along with Israelis) are prohibited from connecting to international networks through any other country. Despite this, Paltel announced its intention to develop an alternate connection through networks in Jordan earlier this year.
In a useful and well-documented paper, Helga Tawil-Souri gives a detailed introduction to the history of Palestinian telecommunications under Israeli occupation and what she terms the “Hi-tech enclosure of Gaza,” the electronic counterpart of Israel’s ongoing physical siege of the territory.
Moreover, Palestinian writer and entrepreneur Sam Bahour, who was part of the core team that established Paltel, has emphasized the importance of telecommunications to economic development and how Israel’s occupation has enriched Israeli companies and hindered Palestinian development in general. … Full article
Why ‘some’ Still Question, Seek Answer(s) & Accountability
For ‘some’ reason I have been receiving more than a few ‘eye-rolling’ responses when I mention our theme for the month leading up to September 11- the tenth year. You and I know where the conscious but mostly subconscious eye-rolling and in some cases eye-aversion reactions come from. A very few bold ones are courageous enough to actually put this reaction into words. They ask ‘why can’t some people just let it go?’ They comment, ‘enough already with this 9/11 subject!’ Many of these same people are actually very outspoken and active in combating civil liberties related issues and abuses such as NSA Illegal Domestic Wiretapping, Rendition and Torture, FBI National Security Letters, TSA’s outrageous abuses …and the long list goes on. However, for ‘some’ reason they see ‘this 9/11 thing’ as a pointless nuisance, and wonder why some people don’t give up and keep bringing ‘it’ up. After all, the majority of these people consider 9/11 as ‘case closed,’ and a few regard it as a ‘cold case.’
I am not going to get into the ‘some’ reasons for this post; although, I have plenty to say on the subject. Instead, for the purpose of this piece, and for those audiences, I am going to answer the ‘whys.’ Why ‘some’ still question and seek answer(s) and accountability on 9/11.
Why 9/11? Because ‘they’ claim that’s what gives them the right to override our Constitution and all other laws guaranteeing our liberties and privacy.
Why 9/11? Because that’s what ‘they’ claim as justification for every one of our many wars.
Why 9/11? Because that’s what ‘they’ say is the reason for us having to be violated, humiliated, groped and fondled for the ‘privilege’ of travel.
Why 9/11? Because that’s when ‘they’ began the illegal eavesdropping of all our communications.
Why 9/11? Because that’s how ‘they’ legitimize excessive secrecy.
Why 9/11? Because that’s the excuse ‘they’ use to implement torture and severe human right violations and escape all liabilities.
Why 9/11? Because that’s the rationalization ‘they’ use to expand ‘their’ size and power.
Why 9/11? Because ‘they’ have successfully made it a means to justify many unjustifiable ends.
Why 9/11? Because that holds answers to many questions ‘they’ don’t want you to ask.
Why 9/11? Because that’s the question ‘they’ don’t want ever answered.
Why 9/11? Because maybe that is what ‘they’ really wanted.
Why 9/11? Because ‘they’ should not get away with it.
Social networking firms Facebook, Twitter, and Research in Motion (RIM), maker of BlackBerry, have welcomed the forthcoming meeting with the British government.
British Home Secretary, Theresa May, is to hold a meeting with the executives of social networking firms to discuss the possibility of shutting down social media during future unrest in Britain.
Moreover, British Prime Minister, David Cameron, asserted that the unprecedented unrest across Britain had been mostly arranged through social media. Cameron acknowledged that “the police, the intelligence services and industry” cooperated with the government during the widespread unrest.
Cameron maintained that the British government had been looking at ways to prevent people from communicating with each other via social media when any sort of unrest threatens the country.
RIM, whose BlackBerry application has been a thorn in British government’s side, has announced it would observe “both UK privacy laws as well as the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.”
Facebook has also expressed approval of the forthcoming meeting asserting that it took measures to make sure Facebook would be “a safe and positive platform for people in the UK” during the widespread unrest.
Furthermore, a report in the Financial Times said that Twitter looked forward to discussing the issues with May.
Meanwhile, Open Rights Group executive director, Jim Killock, has condemned government’s plans to ban social media asserting that such measures infringe upon people’s right to freedom of expression.
Killock said that the police should not be able to suspend individuals from using social media and any suspension decision should be made at courts.
All these measures by the British government come as the British media accuses the Iranian government of blocking access to the Internet and violating freedom of expression while the online version of almost all British newspapers have created a link to Facebook for an unfiltered access to the Iranian users.
Nevertheless, social networking sites, like Facebook, have become a national security concern after Britain faced widespread unrest which some analysts believe was a direct result of the government’s policies.