By Bob Finch | January 6, 2009
The Nakba is commonly perceived around the world and even, unfortunately, by Palestinians themselves, as a discrete historical event which happened in the late 1940s when Jewish terrorists established a Zionist state in Palestine. However, looking back at what has transpired in Palestine over the last six decades, it would be more accurate to describe the Nakba as an ongoing political process in which the racist state has continually implemented its policy of ethnically cleansing and moved ever closer to its long term goal of becoming a Jews-only state.
Adam Horowitz linked to an article suggesting that the Jews’ current military operation in Gaza could be regarded as a new Nakba as if, with the passing of time, this too will be seen as another discrete historical phenomena. “Palestinians reported that many families have left their homes in Beit Lahiya’s al-Atatra neighborhood and are staying with relatives in “safer” areas. Hundreds of residents, who are afraid to travel in their own cars for fear of IDF strikes, could be seen leaving the neighborhood on foot toward central Jabalya. “It was a difficult site and reminded us of images we saw on television during the 1948 Nakba (displacement of Palestinians following Israel’s inception),” one resident who left his home told Ynet. “The sense is that of a new Nakba.”" (‘Gazans say experiencing ‘another Nakba’ January 05, 2009).
Philip Weiss has added to the perception of the Nakba as a discrete historical event by demanding that more effort should be given to commemorating the political disaster that befell the Palestinians in the late 1940s. Given the way that the Zionist dominated media in the western world has pushed the Nakba into an historical ‘hole of oblivion’ it seems laudable trying to remind the global community about what befell the Palestinians in the late 1940s. However, treating the Nakba as an isolated historical event which happened long ago in the mists of time gives the impression that the racist Jewish state has never since resorted to such an odious war crime as ethnic cleansing.
In a recently published article Ilan Pappe fell victim to such a fallacy in an otherwise invaluable essay. He pointed out that Zionism is an ideology based on ethnic cleansing and that current events in Gaza were being airlifted out of their historical context. “It seems that even the most horrendous crimes, such as the genocide in Gaza, are treated as discrete events, unconnected to anything that happened in the past and not associated with any ideology or system.” And yet in the preceding paragraph he’d talked of the Nakba as precisely such a discrete historical event! “And yet, we cannot allow 2009 to be just another year, less significant than 2008, the commemorative year of the Nakba, that did not fulfill the great hopes we all had for its potential to dramatically transform the Western world’s attitude to Palestine and the Palestinians.” (Ilan Pappe ‘Israel’s righteous fury and its victims in Gaza’ ).
Pappe rightly argues that it is imperative that the historical context of the slaughter in Gaza is understood. “Therefore, it is the role of an activist academia and an alternative media to insist on this historical context. These agents should not scoff from educating the public opinion and hopefully even influence the more conscientious politicians to view events in a wider historical perspective.” (Ilan Pappe ‘Israel’s righteous fury and its victims in Gaza’ January 02, 2009). But what seems to elude Pappe is that the best way of providing such an historical context is by suggesting that every single Jewish attack on Palestinians over the last sixty years has been part of an ongoing Nakba whose ultimate goal is a Jews-only state in Palestine. In other words, it is imperative to see the Nakba as an ongoing political process not a one-off historical event.
From its formulation Zionism was intent on removing all Palestinians from Palestine. This had to be done either by murdering Palestinians, terrorizing them into leaving their homes and their own country, or by making the areas in which they lived uninhabitable whether by stealing water resources, damaging sewage systems, or simply by militarily pulverizing Palestinian infrastructure and buildings. The Zionist project is intent on ethnic cleansing and everything the Zionists have done since they established their racist state has been to move remorselessly towards a Jews-only country.
The assumption underlying the two Nakba thesis (if for the moment we accept the proposition that Gaza is a second Nakba) is that the period in between these two political disasters was a time of peace and tranquility when the Zionists made little effort to implement their ethnic cleansing ideology. Of course, in reality during this period the Jewish separatists were all too successful in advancing their piecemeal ethnic cleansing campaign. They have stolen a massive proportion of Palestinian land during this period but always taking care to keep within the bounds of what is acceptable to political and public opinion in the Western world.
But, it might be argued, if the Zionists were really pursuing their goal of ethnic cleansing then surely they would not only have stolen huge amounts of Palestinian land, they would also have dramatically reduced the Palestinian population. At present the population of Palestinians and Jews is roughly equal. But this demographic equality is highly deceptive. The Jews have been pursuing their ethnic cleansing campaign by pushing Palestinians into smaller and smaller enclaves. This leaves the Palestinian population extremely vulnerable to economic blockade and military attack. Jewish society can be visualized as a broadly based pyramid spread out over large areas of Palestinian land. In comparison Palestinian society can be visualized as an inverted pyramid. All the Jews have to do is quietly make these ghettoes less and less inhabitable and eventually these intense concentrations of Palestinians will collapse leading to mass emigration. The Zionist policy seems to have been first, steal their land, then corral Palestinians into ghettos, then make these ghettos increasingly uninhabitable until Palestinians are confronted only with the option of emigrating.
The differences between the political implications of these two characterizations of the Nakba are profound. The implication of the Nakba as an historic event is that Palestinians have a chance to create peace with the Jews because Jews haven’t been vile enough to pursue ethnic cleansing. The implication of the Nakba as ongoing event is that Palestinians do not have any chance of creating peace with such racist monsters and that any peace efforts they make, or hopes they may have, are an error, and a dangerous one because it leaves them highly vulnerable to annihilation. Of the two diametrically opposed perspectives the latter seems far more realistic, far truer to historical realities. The Zionists have never had any intention of allowing the Palestinians to create a Palestinian state. They stopped the Palestinians from forming a state in 1948 and ever since they have sabotaged all peace negotiations between the two sides to prevent the creation of a Palestinian state. Jennifer Loewenstein is but the latest commentator to reach this obvious conclusion. “The answer is because Israel has no intention of allowing a viable, sovereign Palestinian state on its borders.” (Jennifer Loewenstein ‘If Hamas Did Not Exist Israel Has No Intention of Granting a Palestinian State’ January 01, 2009). But it has to be suggested even this view does not get to the whole truth. Jewish racists have no intention of allowing Palestinians to remain in Palestine.
The great advantage of treating the Nakba as a continuing political process is that the so-called ‘Jewish Holocaust’ is precisely what the Nakba is deemed to be: a discrete historical event. (I say ‘so-called’ because I dispute the way the holocaust industry has transformed this event into humans’ greatest ever tragedy and not because I dispute the facts outlined by those such as Hannah Arendt). The Nakba is more important politically than the Holocaust for the simple reason that it is an ongoing political process affecting real people and not a distant historical event. It is remarkable, and exasperating, that on the one hand the Jews have resurrected a dead historical event and are able to use it as an important factor in current political events while, on the other hand, Palestinians have allowed their ongoing tragedy to lapse into a long forgotten historical event which is entirely without political relevance. The Jews have hyped up their historical tragedy to such an extent that in the Western world it is deemed to be more politically significant than the Jews’ ongoing ethnic cleansing campaign against the Palestinians. Indeed, this historical event continues to be the Jews’ best propaganda weapon for justifying whoever they might wish to slaughter whether they are Palestinians, Lebanese, Syrians, or Iranians. The Nakba should be accorded moral superiority over the ‘Holocaust’ since it affects millions of real people whereas the Holocaust is a mere chapter in human history. There is therefore no moral equivalence between the two because the Holocaust is a long gone historical event whilst the Nakba is a current event.
Pappe is correct, “By connecting the Zionist ideology and the policies of the past with the present atrocities, we will be able to provide a clear and logical explanation for the campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions.” But the best means of doing this is by talking about Israel continuing to inflict a Nakba on the Palestinians for the sake of a racially pure Jewish state in Palestine. Every time Palestinians are held up at checkpoints they are being forced to endure another manifestation of the Nakba; every time pregnant Palestinian women are denied medical facilities they are suffering because of the Nakba; every time that Palestinians are assassinated this is because of the Zionists continuing Nakba on the Palestinians. Jews have turned ‘the Holocaust’ into a potent conceptual weapon which now bears considerable propaganda clout: the Zionists pretended they were being threatened by another holocaust by Saddam Hussein’s and Iran’s non-existent nuclear weapons. The Palestinians don’t have to hype up their Nakba in the same lurid way. All they have to do is show that the Nakba still continues after six decades. The Nakba should be treated as something that started in the late 1940s not that it finished soon after.
Over the last six decades or more, the efforts of Jewish racists to create a racially pure Jewish state have been highly successful. They have slaughtered tens of thousands of Palestinians. They have stolen the overwhelming majority of the land in Palestine not to mention virtually all of its resources. They have waged wars against their Arab neighbours causing, whether directly or indirectly, the slaughter of millions of Arabs. On the international front their political triumphs have been even more overwhelming. This rogue state pursuing Nazi policies has managed to convince the Western world to join its racist ‘war against terrorism’. This war against Islamic people was invented and then branded by Jewish supremacists who have persuaded the Western world to buy the brand. Conversely, Western politicians have totally failed to abolish the Jewish apartheid state and bring it within the fold of the multicultural, multi-ethnic, democratic, societies in the Western world. On the contrary, Western countries have adopted the rogue state’s racist ideology. Zionism has become the world’s dominant ideology determining the world’s political agenda. It is hyping up Islamophobia in order to pressure the Western world into engaging in world war three against the Islamic world.
Jewish racists have been laughing all the way to the land bank. Surely Zionist success in portraying the Nakba as an historical event of no current political importance is their greatest ever political conjuring trick. What is so frightening about the current dominance of racist Zionist ideology throughout the Western world is that even the victims of Jewish racism seem convinced that Jewish racists are not involved in ethnic cleansing and that the Nakba was a one-off event which has never been repeated.
- Living on Borrowed Time in a Stolen Land (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- THE 1948 PALESTINIAN NAKBA- An exile the world conveniently forgot (burniejourney.wordpress.com)
Shuttered shops on Shuhada street in Hebron (ISM Hebron)
BETHLEHEM – Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans’ visit to Hebron on Sunday was marred by the refusal of Israeli authorities to allow him to visit the Old City without an Israeli military escort, the Palestinian ambassador to the Netherlands told Ma’an.
Ambassador Nabil Abuznaid told Ma’an in an interview on Sunday that the Dutch minister had planned to visit sections of Hebron’s Old City but Israeli authorities imposed conditions on his visit.
When the foreign minister refused these conditions, which the ambassador described as “unprecedented” for visiting dignitaries, he was forced to cancel his visit.
“The occupation (authorities) tried to make some conditions, but he did not accept them,” Abuznaid told Ma’an on Sunday.
“We appreciate that he fought for his principles,” by refusing to accept the Israeli authorities’ condition, he added.
Abuznaid highlighted that by refusing to visit the Old City of Hebron under Israeli escort the Dutch minister made it clear that “he did not want to set a precedent” of only entering escorted by the Israeli military.
“We respect the Dutch and their decisions,” which show “their support for human rights and Palestinian rights,” he added.
“We are mad at the occupation,” for imposing these conditions, Abuznaid stressed, “as we the hosts cannot even receive a special guest in our homes.”
Expressing his frustration with the Israeli-imposed restrictions, the ambassador lamented, “We cannot show him our own city and our suffering.”
The Dutch foreign minister was able to visit sites outside of the Old City in Hebron, including a meeting with the Temporary International Presence in Hebron, a civilian observer mission based in the city.
But the Israeli authorities’ refusal to allow the Dutch leader to visit the Old City with a Palestinian escort meant he was unable to see the areas that witness some of the highest incidences of Israeli settler violence against Palestinian civilians.
Hebron is a frequent site of clashes due to the presence of 500 Israeli settlers in the heart of the Palestinian Old City, many of whom have illegally occupied Palestinian houses and forcibly removed the original inhabitants. They are protected by thousands of Israeli forces.
A 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.
The Israeli military-controlled H2 zone includes the ancient Old City, home of the revered Ibrahimi Mosque — also split into a synagogue referred to as the Tomb of the Patriarchs — and the once thriving Shuhada street, now just shuttered shop fronts and closed homes.
More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.
- Israeli military detains driver, confiscates vehicle donated for transport of schoolchildren in South Hebron Hills (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- ‘Death to Arabs’ sprayed on Palestinian kindergarten in Hebron (uprootedpalestinians.wordpress.com)
- Israeli forces assault Palestinian school bus driver near Hebron (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Settlers Assault A Palestinian Child In Hebron (imemc.org)
- 3 Palestinians shot dead near Hebron (altahrir.wordpress.com)
By Gilad Atzmon | January 3, 2009
Communicating with Israelis may leave one bewildered. Even now when the Israeli Air Force is practicing murder in broad daylight of hundreds of civilians, elderly persons, women and children, the Israeli people manage to convince themselves that they are the real victims in this violent saga.
Those who are familiar intimately with Israeli people realise that they are completely uninformed about the roots of the conflict that dominates their lives. Rather often Israelis manage to come up with some bizarre arguments that may make a lot of sense within the Israeli discourse, yet make no sense whatsoever outside of the Jewish street. Such an argument goes as follows: ‘those Palestinians, why do they insist upon living on our land (Israel), why can’t they just settle in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon or any other Arab country?’ Another Hebraic pearl of wisdom sounds like this: ‘what is wrong with these Palestinians? We gave them water, electricity, education and all they do is try to throw us to the sea’.
Astonishingly enough, the Israelis even within the so-called ‘left’ and even the educated ‘left’ fail to understand who the Palestinians are, where they come from and what they stand for. They fail to grasp that for the Palestinians, Palestine is home. Miraculously, the Israelis manage to fail to grasp that Israel had been erected at the expense of the Palestinian people, on Palestinian land, on Palestinian villages, towns, fields and orchards. The Israelis do not realise that Palestinians in Gaza and in refugee camps in the region are actually dispossessed people from Ber Shive, Yafo, Tel Kabir, Shekh Munis, Lod, Haifa, Jerusalem and many more towns and villages. If you wonder how come the Israelis don’t know their history, the answer is pretty simple, they have never been told. The circumstances that led to the Israeli Palestinian conflict are well hidden within their culture. Traces of pre-1948 Palestinian civilisation on the land had been wiped out. Not only the Nakba, the 1948 ethnic cleansing of the indigenous Palestinians, is not part of the Israeli curriculum, it is not even mentioned or discussed in any Israeli official or academic forum.
In the very centre of almost every Israeli town one can a find a 1948 memorial statue displaying a very bizarre, almost abstract, pipe work. The plumbing feature is called Davidka and it is actually a 1948 Israeli mortar cannon. Interestingly enough, the Davidka was an extremely ineffective weapon. Its shells wouldn’t reach more than 300 meters and would cause very limited damage. Though the Davidika would cause just minimal harm, it produced a lot of noise. According to the Israeli official historical narrative, the Arabs i.e., Palestinians, simply ran away for their lives once they heard the Davidka from afar. According to the Israeli narrative, the Jews i.e., ‘new Israelis’ did a bit of fireworks and the ‘Arab cowards’ just ran off like idiots. In the Israeli official narrative there is no mention of the many orchestrated massacres conducted by the young IDF and the paramilitary units that preceded it. There is no mention also of the racist laws that stop Palestinians from returning to their homes and lands.
The meaning of the above is pretty simple. Israelis are totally unfamiliar with the Palestinian cause. Hence, they can only interpret the Palestinian struggle as a murderous irrational lunacy. Within the Israeli Judeo- centric solipsistic universe, the Israeli is an innocent victim and the Palestinian is no less than a savage murderer.
This grave situation that leaves the Israeli in the dark regarding his past demolishes any possibility of future reconciliation. Since the Israeli lacks the minimal comprehension of the conflict, he cannot contemplate any possible resolution except extermination or cleansing of the ‘enemy’. All the Israeli is entitled to know are various phantasmic narratives of Jewish suffering. Palestinian pain is completely foreign to his ears. ‘Palestinian right of return’ sounds to him like an amusing idea. Even the most advanced ‘Israeli humanists’ are not ready to share the land with its indigenous inhabitants. This doesn’t leave the Palestinians with many options but to liberate themselves against all odds. Clearly, there is no partner for peace on the Israel side.
This week we all learned more about the ballistic capability of Hamas. Evidently, Hamas was rather restrained with Israel for more than a long while. It refrained from escalating the conflict to the whole of southern Israel. It occurred to me that the barrages of Qassams that have been landing sporadically on Sderot and Ashkelon were actually nothing but a message from the imprisoned Palestinians. First it was a message to the stolen land, homes fields and orchards: ‘Our beloved soil, we didn’t forget, we are still here fighting for you, sooner rather than later, we will come back, we will start again where we had stopped’. But it was also a clear message to the Israelis. ‘You out there, in Sderot, Beer Sheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Tel Aviv and Haifa, whether you realise it or not, you are actually living on our stolen land. You better start to pack because your time is running out, you have exhausted our patience. We, the Palestinian people, have nothing to lose anymore’.
Let’s face it, realistically the situation in Israel is rather grave. Two years ago it was Hezbollah rockets that pounded northern Israel. This week the Hamas proved beyond doubt that it is capable of serving the South of Israel with some cocktail of ballistic vengeance. Both in the case of the Hezbollah and the case of the Hamas, Israel was left with no military answer. It can no doubt kill civilians but it fails to stop the rocket barrage. The IDF lacks the means of protecting Israel unless covering Israel with a solid concrete roof is a viable solution. At the end of the day, they might be planning just that (link).
But this is far from the end of the story. In fact it is just the beginning. Every Middle East expert knows that Hamas can seize control of the West Bank within hours. In fact, PA and Fatah control in the West Bank is maintained by the IDF. Once Hamas takes the West Bank, the biggest Israeli population centre will be left to the mercy of Hamas. For those who fail to see, this would be the end of Jewish Israel. It may happen later today, it may happen in three months or in five years, it isn’t a matter of ‘if’ but rather a matter of ‘when’. By that time, the whole of Israel will be within firing range of Hamas and Hezbollah, Israeli society will collapse, its economy will be ruined. The price of a detached villa in Northern Tel Aviv would equal a shed in Kiryat Shmone or Sderot. By the time a single rocket hits Tel Aviv, the Zionist dream will be over.
The IDF generals know it, the Israeli leaders know it. This is why they stepped up the war against the Palestinians into extermination. The Israelis do not plan upon invading Gaza. They have lost nothing there. All they want is to finish the Nakba. They drop bombs on Palestinians in order to wipe them out. They want the Palestinians out of the region. It is obviously not going to work, Palestinians will stay. Not only they will they stay, their day of return to their land is coming closer as Israel has been exploiting its deadliest tactics.
This is exactly where Israeli escapism comes into play. Israel has passed the ‘point of no return’. Its doomed fate is deeply engraved in each bomb it drops on Palestinian civilians. There is nothing Israel can do to save itself. There is no exit strategy. It can’t negotiate its way out because neither the Israelis nor their leadership understand the elementary parameters involved in the conflict. Israel lacks the military power to conclude the battle. It may manage to kill Palestinian grassroots leaders, it has been doing it for years, yet Palestinian resistance and persistence is growing fierce rather than weakening. As an IDF intelligence general predicted already at the first Intifada. ‘In order to win, all Palestinians have to do is to survive’. They survive and they are indeed winning.
Israeli leaders understand it all. Israel has already tried everything, unilateral withdrawal, starvation and now extermination. It thought to evade the demographic danger by shrinking into an intimate cosy Jewish ghetto. Nothing worked. It is Palestinian persistence in the shape of Hamas politics that defines the future of the region.
All that is left to Israelis is to cling to their blindness and escapism to evade their devastating grave fate that has become immanent already. All along their way down, the Israelis will sing their familiar various victim anthems. Being imbued in a self-centred supremacist reality, they will be utterly involved in their own pain yet completely blind to the pain they inflict on others. Uniquely enough, the Israelis are operating as a unified collective when dropping bombs on others, yet, once being slightly hurt, they all manage to become monads of vulnerable innocence. It is this discrepancy between the self-image and the way they are seen by the rest of us which turns the Israeli into a monstrous exterminator. It is this discrepancy that stops Israelis from grasping their own history, it is that discrepancy that stops them from comprehending the repeated numerous attempts to destroy their State. It is that discrepancy that stops Israelis from understanding the meaning of the Shoah so can they prevent the next one. It is this discrepancy that stops Israelis from being part of humanity.
Once again Jews will have to wander into an unknown fate. To a certain extent, I myself have started my journey a while ago.
 Jews only law of return- http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/1950_1959/Law%20of%20Return%205710-1950
Today, standing in front of news-cameras and press, newly elect mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio responds to the grievances of stop and frisk critics and progressive non-profits groups by appointing ‘America’s Top Cop,’ William Bratton as chief commissioner of the New York City Police Department. This is a slap in the face for many liberals across the city as their dreams of a progressive mayor are quickly dashed. Yet, for the few community activists that have not sold their hopes to city electoral politics, the appointment of Bratton signals the state response to dissent and a reaffirmation of the role of police in the neoliberal era with new points of interest, namely the criminalization of youth across New York City.
Now 66 years old, Bratton, admonished by many as “America’s Top Cop” comes back to the city that in the 1990s gave him the free pass to practice his zero-tolerance policing strategies, albeit, back then under a republican mayor. Some may question de Blasio’s decision. Given the tensions that have mounted recently against stop and frisk, why appoint someone that is so closely tied to this particular form of ‘quick-fix’ policing that continues to alienate communities of color?
Broken-windows policing was the brainchild of social science. James Q. Wilson and William Kelling in a 1982 article in The Atlantic proposed that eradicating graffiti, loitering, and other outward signs of community decay would effectively make communities safer and simultaneously address future crimes. The theory was taken up and applied by William Bratton, in his tenures as police chief in New York City in the 1990s and Los Angeles in 2000s. Since then the relationship between broken windows policing and crime rates has been debunked. Bernard Harcourt for example, in his book The Illusion of Order, challenges the correlation often drawn by criminologists between crime and disorder. It is also important to note that broken windows theory, also known as zero tolerance policing became the main form of policing strategy as neoliberal agenda was being consolidated. The consequences of zero tolerance policing have been documented far and wide from heightened surveillance to harassment, police brutality, over-arrests and overall dehumanization of poor communities and communities of color. Zero-tolerance policing has effectively allowed the NYPD to practice search and stops that are similar to the counterinsurgency military techniques of ‘cordon and search’ used in Afghanistan.
So given the way in which Bratton was instrumental in implementing zero tolerance policing, out of which ‘stop and frisk’ is an aspect of, why assign him again to the task of overseeing the NYPD?
Before we get angry at DeBlasio for failing to fulfill the role that many liberals across the city have boxed him into, let us recall the mainstream response to stop and frisk policing by the “progressive” elements of NYC.
On February 4th, 2012 at a rally in the South Bronx for the beating of Jatiek Reed and the murder of Rahmarley Graham, city council members and progressive officials took the opportunity to get on the microphone and to speak against stop and frisk and to criticize the NYPD for the egregious assault of one young man and the murder of another. While politicians gave speeches on end, no one from the community was invited to speak about their experiences with the NYPD. Furthermore, the rhetoric remained one that was critical of ‘stop and frisk’ but supportive of the role that police play in combating crime. Take Back the Bronx along with other activists drew attention away from the banter of the politicians to the heart of the matter by chanting: “Fuck the NYPD.” The real problem community members shouted was not only ‘stop and frisk’: the real enemy was the NYPD. The angry politicians tried to quiet the voices, but it was too late. The community members attending the march already left the politicians behind, chanting and taking over the streets of the South Bronx. This is a unique response to stop and frisk and to policing in general that is missing from progressive mainstream accounts.
Instead, the progressive activists and their non-profits have hijacked the discourse and have focused their energies on reforming the NYPD. Examples of this abound from so-called progressive East Flatbush councilmember Jumaane Williams to coalitions like Communities United for Police Reform (which includes many progressive non-profit groups throughout NYC). Together, they have been fundamental in channeling a radical critique of the NYPD to one that has boiled down to essentially legislative reform.
So, I wonder if these same groups will be surprised today as Bratton “the father of community policing” is called up to the task of overseeing the NYPD?
It may seem confusing to try to pinpoint why Bratton is hired at a moment when ‘stop and frisk’ has come under such scrutiny. Yet when we look at developments in Chicago and Oakland the picture is clearer.
Recently, in Oakland community groups came together to challenge City Council’s decision to hire Bratton as a consultant for its police department. In Chicago, Rahm Emmanuel has openly embraced broken windows policing as a way to deal with violence. While politicians and their middle-class supporters cite violence as one of the main reasons for the need for heightened police presence, they do not look deeper to see the ways in which neoliberalism has affected Chicago, Oakland and New York City. Neoliberal re-structuring has displaced thousands. In neighborhoods that continue to ‘hold out’ and whose location is prime target for developers the only people that stand in the way are the youth. So, what we see in places like Chicago, Oakland and increasingly New York City is a focus on criminalization of youth, particularly street families or as the police likes to call them: gangs.
In Oakland, Bratton’s hire as a consultant for the police department was proposed at a time when community groups were heavily fighting gang injunctions, youth curfews etc. Similarly, in New York City, his appointment as Chief Commissioner of NYPD comes at time of increased scrutiny of police practices. The state is making a particular choice when it hires Bratton as chief commissioner of the NYPD. It is responding to its critics and is clamping down on them. Bratton is coming into New York City at time when the NYPD is turning its attention to youth gangs like never before. In the next year, we will see the state focus more of its forces more heavily on criminalization of youth. What will be our response?
Zhandarka Kurti lives in the Bronx. She can be reached at email@example.com
- Here’s What to Expect from NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton (blogs.villagevoice.com)
- UK detains 3,000 people in unrest
- Liberals should stop and frisk Bill de Blasio
- The Shady Ties Between de Blasio and the Clintons
- Without Any Legal Basis, The NYPD Has Been Classifying Its Own Documents For More Than A Decade
Here we go again. On Israel and the US losing their UNESCO voting rights, ‘Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Nimrod Barkan, ‘said in an interview that his country supports the U.S. decision [to suspend contributions], “objecting to the politicization of UNESCO, or any international organization, with the accession of a non-existing country like Palestine.” (AP 8-11-13)
Palestine-denial, next to straight out violent ethnic-cleansing, is Israel’s sinister stratagem to wipe Palestinians off the face of their own ancestral land in order to lay a fictitious claim to the whole of historic Palestine.
Like the boy who cried ‘wolf’, Israel’s frenetic cries of ‘delegitimisation’ or’ anti-semitism’ at criticism of its illegal occupation and apartheid policies, are falling on the skeptical ears of the decent masses fed up with Israel’s double standards of delegitimising Palestine and dehumanising Palestinians as non-people.
In between the years spanning Golda Meir’s “There were no such things as the Palestinians… They did not exist.” (June 15, 1969) to the regurgitation by US Presidential nominee candidate, Newt Gingrich, Sheldon Adelson’s ventriloquist dummy, “Remember, there was no Palestine as a state — (it was) part of the Ottoman Empire. I think we have an invented Palestinian people who are in fact Arabs” (10 12- 11) and up to Barkan’s present absurdity, are torrents of similar Zionist gibberish in the media.
Just as the English people evolved over millennia through the assimilation of indigenous folk and conquering colonisers and migrants, ie Picts, Celts, Britons, Romans, Angles, Saxons and Normans, so too modern Palestinians descended from sundry peoples; Canaanites, Edomites, Eremites, Moabites, Assyrians, Egyptians, Philistines, Hebrews, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Europeans,Turks.
In fact the nation of England didn’t manifest from multiple kingdoms until the 10th century CE and English identity only began to develop after the Norman conquests in the 12th century. At that time Palestine was part of the Arab Caliphate that took over from 600 years of Roman rule in 634 and held Palestine until 1516 three times longer than the sum of historic Jewish control sans the fictitious monarchies of Saul, David and Solomon:
“There is no evidence of a United Monarchy no evidence of a capital in Jerusalem or of any coherent, unified political force that dominated western Palestine, let alone an empire of the size the legends describe. We do not have evidence for the existence of kings named Saul, David or Solomon; nor do we have evidence for any temple at Jerusalem in this early period. What we do know of Israel and Judah of the tenth century does not allow us to interpret this lack of evidence as a gap in our knowledge and information about the past, a result merely of the accidental nature of archeology. There is neither room nor context, no artifact or archive that points to such historical realities in Palestine’s tenth century. One cannot speak historically of a state without a population. Nor can one speak of a capital without a town. Stories are not enough.” The Bible in History: How Writers Create a Past, Thomas L Thompson
Thus the Israeli claim to Palestine on historic grounds has much less validity than a claim by modern Italians or Greeks on Palestine, or say Italians or Danes on England or Germans on France or the Syrians on Spain. In his book, ‘The Invention of the Land of Israel’, Israeli historian Prof. Shlomo Sand ‘argues that for 2,000 years the Jews did not constitute a people and that only religion, belief and culture united them.’(Haaretz 24-5-13)
To alchemise the myth that Palestine is the birthplace of the Jewish people into ‘reality’, Israel fused two elements, the Bible and archeology. As the Hebrew Bible is the basis of Christianity, which itself is a pillar of western civilisation, Biblical archeology then becomes the focus and front for a fabricated and dominant Zionist history, a ‘master story’ totally obscuring the rich heritage of Palestinian history. In short, Palestine-denial:
“Appropriations of the past as part of the politics of the present… could be illustrated for most parts of the globe. One further example which is of particular interest to this study, is the way in which archeology and biblical history have become of such importance to the modern state of Israel. It is this combination which has been such a powerful factor in silencing Palestinian history.” ( p.16 The Invention of Ancient Israel: the silencing of Palestinian history, Keith W Whitelam)
The findings of Biblical archeology have gone unquestioned until recently with the advent of The Copenhagen School which challenged the Bible’s literal value as history.
These scholars agree that the heroic biblical accounts of David and Solomon were written between the 5th and 3rd centuries BC; hundreds of years after the so-called Iron Age united monarchy. Much the same as Homer’s heroic Iliad and Odyssey were written 400 years after its Bronze age setting. Nevertheless, the state of Israel has invested heavily in the David myth for its false historic claim to Jerusalem as its capital because it was the city of David.
Indeed, archaeology has become a state apparatus for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the Zionist fairyland aka the City of David Archaeological Park located in the Palestinian village of Silwan in East Jerusalem,
‘De-Arabizing the history of Palestine is another crucial element of the ethnic cleansing. 1500 years of Arab and Muslim rule and culture in Palestine are trivialized, evidence of its existence is being destroyed and all this is done to make the absurd connection between the ancient Hebrew civilization and today’s Israel. The most glaring example of this today is in Silwan, (Wadi Hilwe) a town adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem with some 50,000 residents. Israel is expelling families from Silwan and destroying their homes because it claims that king David built a city there some 3000 years ago. Thousands of families will be made homeless so that Israel can build a park to commemorate a king that may or may not have lived 3000 years ago. Not a shred of historical evidence exists that can prove King David ever lived yet Palestinian men, women, children and the elderly along with their schools and mosques, churches and ancient cemeteries and any evidence of their existence must be destroyed and then denied so that Zionist claims to exclusive rights to the land may be substantiated.’ — Miko Peled, Israeli dissident.
Furthermore Prof. Ze’ev Herzog at Tel Aviv University in Deconstructing the walls of Jericho debunks a historic Exodus myth, “This is what archaeologists have learned from their excavations in the Land of Israel: the Israelites were never in Egypt, did not wander in the desert, did not conquer the land in a military campaign and did not pass it on to the 12 tribes of Israel.” The emergence from the desert and creating a unified state where the desert blooms and the brave pioneering Jews prosper lies at the core of Israeli identity and echoed here by President Shimon Peres:
“I remember how it all began. The whole state of Israel is a millimeter of the whole Middle East. A statistical error, barren and disappointing land, swamps in the north, desert in the south, two lakes, one dead and an overrated river. No natural resource apart from malaria. There was nothing here. And we now have the best agriculture in the world? This is a miracle: a land built by people” (Maariv, 14 -4-2013).
The old ‘there was nothing here’ strikes agin! Peres knows this is charlatanry. Palestinian agriculture and trade was booming when the Zionist colonists arrived and was vibrant, booming, and plenteous for centuries.
Guy Le Strange, in 1890, translated in his fascinating book, Palestine Under the Moslems; From AD 650 to 1500, the works of 20 medieval Muslim geographers including the famous Jerusalemite, Al Mukaddasi and Ibn Battuta:
“Filasîn is watered by the rains and the dew. Its trees and its ploughed lands do not need artificial irrigation; and it is only in Nâbulus that you find the running waters applied to this purpose. Filastîn is the most fertile of the Syrian provinces.
“From Palestine come olives, dried figs, raisins, the carobfruit, stuffs of mixed silk and cotton, soap and kerchiefs. “ From Jerusalem come cheeses, cotton, the celebrated raisins of the species known as ’Ainûnî and Dûrî, excellent apples, bananas—which same is a fruit in the form of a cucumber, but when the skin is peeled off, the interior is not unlike the water-melon, only finer flavoured and more luscious—also pine nuts of the kind called ‘ Kuraish-bite’ and their equal is not found elscwhere; further, mirrors, lamp-jars, and needles. “ From Jericho is brought excellent indigo. “ From Sughar and Baisân come both indigo and dates, also the treacle called Dibs. “
“Unequalled is this land of Syria for its dried figs, its common olive-oil, its white bread, and the Ramlah veils; also for the quinces, the pine-nuts called ‘ Kuraish-bite,’ the ’Ainûnî and Duri raisins, the Theriack-antidote, the herb of mint, and the rosaries of Jerusalem. And further, know that within the province of Palestine may be found gathered together six-and-thirty products that are not found thus united in any other land. Of these the first seven are found in Palestine alone; the following seven are very rare in other countries; and the remaining two-and-twenty, though only found thus gathered together in this province, are, for the most part, found one and another, singly, in other lands. Now the first seven are the pine-nuts, called ‘ Kuraish-bite,’ the quince or Cydonian-apple, the ’Ainûnî and the Duri raisins, the Kâfûrî plum, the fig called As Sabâ’i, and the fig of Damascus. The next seven are the Colocasia or water lily, the sycamore, the carob or St. John’s bread (locust-tree), the lotus-fruit or jujube, the artichoke, the sugar-cane, and the Syrian apple. And the remaining twentytwo are the fresh dates and olives, the shaddock, the indigo and juniper, the orange, the mandrake, the Nabk fruit, the nut, the almond, the asparagus, the banana, the sumach, the cabbage, the truffle, the lupin, and the early prune, called At Tarî; also snow, buffalo-milk, the honey-comb, the ‘Âsimî grape, and the Tamri—or date-fig. Further, there is the preserve called Kubbait; you find, in truth, the like of it in name elsewhere, but of a dififerent flavour. The lettuce also, which everywhere else, except only at Ahwâz (in Persia), is counted as a common vegetable, is here in Palestine a choice dish.
What is intriguing in these Muslim chronicles is their acknowledgement of the Jewish and Christian narratives, “In the middle of the Lake of Tiberias is a projecting rock, which they say is the tomb of Solomon, the son of David. Now, the sinking together of the waters of the Lake of Tiberias will be a sign of the coming of the Antichrist, called Ad Dajjâl.” and according to Sand, “it was not until the arrival of the armies of Islam in the early seventh century that Jews were finally allowed to freely enter and reside in their ancient holy city.”
So unlike Israel’s perpetual denial that Palestine ever existed as a nation that disregards the definition of ‘nation’ includes both the legal entity of nation as state and also nation as ‘a community of people who share a common language, culture, ethnicity, descent, or history inhabiting a particular country or territory.’ For example in Australia there are over 200 Indigenous nations and over 500 in America.
There are countless historic references to Palestine to counter Israeli denial such as:
1150 BC: “Peleset transliterated from hieroglyphs as P-r-s-t referring to the people and land of the Philistines during Egypt’s Twentieth Dynasty.
800 BC: The Assyrians referred to region as Palashtu
5th Century BC: “The first known occurrence of the Greek word Palaistine is in the Histories of Herodotus, written near the mid-fifth century B.C. Palaistine Syria, or simply Palaistine, is applied to what may be identified as the southern part of Syria, comprising the region between Phoenicia and Egypt.”
306 -337 CE: Of the Roman Emperor Constantine, Eusebius the Palestinian writes in his Vita Constantini: In this manner, then, the emperor executed in Palestine the noble works I have above described: and indeed in every province he raised new churches on a far more imposing scale than those which had existed before his time. Chapter xlvii book III and includes a letter from Constantine to “”Victor Constantinus, Maximus Augustus, to Macarius, and the rest of the bishops in Palestine “ LII
Arab Caliphate 650-1500: “the early division of Syria into five Junds. These corresponded very nearly with the old Roman and Byzantine provinces, such as the Arabs found in existence at the time of the conquest, and which are described in the Code of Theodosius, a work that dates from the fifth century A.D. Palæstina Prima, with Cæsarea for its capital, comprising Judsea and Samaria, became the Arab Jund of Filastîn, with Ramlah for capital. Palæstina Secunda, with Scythopolis (Beth Shean, Baisân) for its capital, comprising the two Galûees and the western part of Persea, became the Jund of Al Urdunn (the Jordan), with Tiberias for the new capital. Palæstina Tertia, or Salutaris, including Idumsea and Arabia Petraea, was absorbed partly into the Damascus Jund, and partly was counted in Filastîn. ( le Strange)
“ The population of Palestine consists of Arabs of the tribes of Lakhm, Judhâm, ’Âmilah, Kindah, Kais ( le Strange)
The discovery of the 7th Century Standing Caliph Coins of Aylah-Filastin
Circa 1603: Shakespeare’s Othello, Act4 Sc.3 ll38-9
EMILIA: I know a lady in Venice would have walked barefoot to Palestine for a touch of his nether lip.
1896: Even the father of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, recognised Palestine within the Ottoman Empire,”If His Majesty the Sultan were to give us Palestine, we could in return undertake to regulate the whole finances of Turkey.” (The Jewish State,)
1915-8: The Australian War memorial and the official Australian Light Horse website recognise the WW1 Sinai and PALESTINE campaigns.
1927: “the Currency Board put into circulation a new currency which in 1928 became the sole legal currency. This was the Palestine pound, equivalent in value to the pound sterling and divided into 1,000 mils. The notes in current circulation in Palestine are £P ½, 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 and 500. There are also silver coins of 50 and 100 mils and bronze and nickel coins of 5, 10 and 20 mils.”
February 1927: ultra Zionist David Ben Gurion said
“The right which the Arabs in Palestine have is one due to the inhabitants of any country . . . because they live here, and not because they are Arabs . . . The Arab inhabitants of Palestine should enjoy all the rights of citizens and all political rights, not only as individuals, but as a national community, just like the Jews.”
The same Ben Gurion who, according to Prof. Ilan Pappe, was the “architect of ethnic cleansing” during the 1948 Nakba (Catastrophe) when, 500 Palestinian villages were destroyed by Zionist militias and 750,000 Palestinians were forced to leave their ancestral land while thousands of innocents were murdered.
Israel has compelled the criminalisation of Holocaust denial in Europe and elsewhere even though it has enacted domestic laws criminalising Nakba commemoration. The flaccid reaction of world governments to Israel’s galling double standards is as ethically contemptible as Israel’s effrontery to expunge an oppressed people and their lineal land.
Dr. Vacy Vlazna is Coordinator of Justice for Palestine Matters. She was Human Rights Advisor to the GAM team in the second round of the Acheh peace talks, Helsinki, February 2005 then withdrew on principle. Vacy was coordinator of the East Timor Justice Lobby as well as serving in East Timor with UNAMET and UNTAET from 1999-2001.
Former South African President and anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela passed away Thursday evening at the age of 95 and eulogies from world leaders began to appear soon after his death.
US President Barack Obama was one of the world leaders who paid their glowing tribute to South Africa’s anti-apartheid legend.
“We’ve lost one of the most influential, courageous and profoundly good human beings that any of us will share time with,” the US President said. “He no longer belongs to us, he belongs to the ages … His commitment to transfer power and reconcile with those who jailed him set an example that all humanity should aspire to.”
Nevertheless, it was not until 2008 that the US government removed Mandela’s name from its terrorism watch list.
Following the Sharpeville Massacre in 1960, when forces of South Africa’s apartheid regime shot 69 people dead in protests in the township of Sharpeville, Mandela’s African National Congress (ANC) was banned.
The apartheid regime designated the ANC as a terrorist organization because it fought against the regime’s apartheid system which legalized racial discrimination from 1948 to 1994.
The apartheid system banned the black people from voting, traveling without permission, or even possessing land.
In 1987, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also described Mandela’s ANC as a “typical terrorist organization.”
The US State Department under the presidency of Ronald Reagan also deemed Mandela’s ANC a terrorist organization and Reagan vetoed the Comprehensive Anti-Apartheid Act of 1986 passed by US Congress. Reagan’s veto was later overridden by Congress.
Palestine Information Center – December 5, 2013
GAZA — Senior Hamas official Mahmoud Al-Zahhar said that any conciliatory agreement resulting from the current negotiations between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the occupation is non-binding for the Palestinian people.
Zahhar made his remarks during a special session held on Wednesday by the Palestinian legislative council to discuss the report that was submitted by its political committee on the negotiations between the PA and the Israeli occupation regime.
Zahhar called for forming a national front opposing the peace negotiations with the occupation and addressing their detrimental impacts on Palestinian rights and constants.
“The Palestinian negotiators are illegitimate, they neither represent the national consensus nor have the majority that allows them to speak on behalf the Palestinian people,” the Hamas official stated.
He affirmed that the Fatah faction took the Palestinian cause to a dangerous level in its negotiations with the Israeli occupation and waived many Palestinian rights, noting that the results of the negotiations had been settled in advance by the US sponsor in favor of the occupation.
Fatah chose to obey America in order to protect its presence as a representative of the people and insure financial support, he stressed.
Continuation of negotiation condemned
Dr. Ismail Radwan, Minister of Religious Affairs in Gaza, condemned the continuation of negotiation between Israeli and Palestinian authorities despite the national consensus on its rejection.
During his participation in a workshop concerning the current Palestinian situation, Radwan said that the Palestinian situation is “painful” in light the continued detention of thousands of Palestinian behind Israeli bars, escalated Judaization schemes, and security coordination between Israeli and Palestinian forces, in addition to the Islamic nations preoccupation with their internal problems.
Radwan praised the workshop, which contained participants from all Palestinian political parties, considering it a contribution to national reconciliation.
Radwan pointed to the Israeli settlers’ escalated break-ins into al-Aqsa mosque under Israeli forces’ protection in total disregard of Muslims’ feelings and freedom of religion.
He said that the continued Israeli violations in al-Aqsa Mosque aim at imposing a new fait accompli in al-Aqsa Mosque and toward building their alleged Temple on its ruins, stressing that what is happening to Jerusalem is a shame on leaders of the Islamic nations.
He praised the steadfastness of the Palestinian people in Jerusalem who continue to defend al-Aqsa Mosque.
Radwan said that the unfair Israeli siege on Gaza aims at undermining Palestinian resistance, praising Gazan people’s steadfastness.
Radwan called on the Fatah movement to implement Doha and Cairo agreements that stipulate the formation of a national unity government and achieving national reconciliation.
Commenting on a statement by one of the participants, Radwan stressed that resistance is a “red line”, adding that it is a strategic option for the Palestinian people.
Freedom is guaranteed to all Palestinian people under the rule of law, he finally said in response to a question by one of the participants.
- Israeli forces detain three Palestinians trying to enter Al-Aqsa (altahrir.wordpress.com)
- Israeli Extremists Invade Yards Of The Al-Aqsa Mosque (imemc.org)
By Stephen J. Sniegoski ~ 2003
Is there any evidence that Israel and her supporters have managed to get the United States to fight for their interests?
To unearth the real motives for the projected war on Iraq, one must ask the critical question: How did the 9/11 terrorist attack lead to the planned war on Iraq, even though there is no real evidence that Iraq was involved in 9/11? From the time of the 9/11 attack, neoconservatives, of primarily (though not exclusively) Jewish ethnicity and right-wing Zionist persuasion, have tried to make use of 9/11 to foment a broad war against Islamic terrorism, the targets of which would coincide with the enemies of Israel.
For some time prior to September 11, 2001, neoconservatives had publicly advocated an American war on Iraq. The 9/11 atrocities provided the pretext. The idea that neocons are the motivating force behind the U.S. movement for war has been broached by a number of commentators
To understand why Israeli leaders would want a Middle East war, it is first necessary to take a brief look at the history of the Zionist movement and its goals. Despite public rhetoric to the contrary, the idea of expelling (or, in the accepted euphemism, “transferring”) the indigenous Palestinian population was an integral part of the Zionist effort to found a Jewish national state in Palestine. Historian Tom Segev writes:
The idea of transfer had accompanied the Zionist movement from its very beginnings, first appearing in Theodore Herzl’s diary. In practice, the Zionists began executing a mini-transfer from the time they began purchasing the land and evacuating the Arab tenants…. “Disappearing” the Arabs lay at the heart of the Zionist dream, and was also a necessary condition of its existence…. With few exceptions, none of the Zionists disputed the desirability of forced transfer — or its morality.
However, Segev continues, the Zionist leaders learned not to publicly proclaim their plan of mass expulsion because “this would cause the Zionists to lose the world’s sympathy.”
The key was to find an opportune time to initiate the expulsion so it would not incur the world’s condemnation.
A clear illustration of the neoconservative thinking on war on Iraq is a 1996 paper developed by Perle, Feith, David Wurmser, and others published by an Israeli think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies, titled “A clean break: a new strategy for securing the realm.” It was intended as a political blueprint for the incoming government of Benjamin Netanyahu. The paper stated that Netanyahu should “make a clean break” with the Oslo peace process and reassert Israel’s claim to the West Bank and Gaza. It presented a plan whereby Israel would “shape its strategic environment,” beginning with the removal of Saddam Hussein and the installation of a Hashemite monarchy in Baghdad, to serve as a first step toward eliminating the anti-Israeli governments of Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Iran.
Note that these Americans — Perle, Feith, and Wurmser — were advising a foreign government and that they currently are connected to the George W. Bush administration: Perle is head of the Defense Policy Board; Feith is Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy; and Wurmser is special assistant to State Department chief arms control negotiator John Bolton. It is also remarkable that while in 1996 Israel was to “shape its strategic environment” by removing her enemies, the same individuals are now proposing that the United States shape the Middle East environment by removing Israel’s enemies. That is to say, the United States is to serve as Israel’s proxy to advance Israeli interests.
In September 2000, the neocon think tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC) issued a report, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” that envisioned an expanded global posture for the United States. In regard to the Middle East, the report called for an increased American military presence in the Gulf, whether Saddam was in power or not., maintaining that “the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” The project’s participants included individuals who would play leading roles in the second Bush administration: Cheney (Vice President), Rumsfeld (secretary of defense), Wolfowitz (deputy secretary of defense), and Lewis Libby (Cheney’s chief of staff). Weekly Standard editor William Kristol was also a co-author.
The September 11 atrocities provided the “revolutionary times” in which Israel could undertake radical measures unacceptable during normal conditions. When asked what the attack would do for U.S.-Israeli relations, former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded: “It’s very good.” Then he edited himself: “Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy.” Netanyahu correctly predicted that the attack would “strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we’ve experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror.” Sharon placed Israel in the same position as the United States, referring to the attack as an assault on “our common values” and declaring, “I believe together we can defeat these forces of evil.”
In the eyes of Israel’s leaders, the September 11 attacks had joined the United States and Israeli together against a common enemy. And that enemy was not in far-off Afghanistan but was geographically close to Israel. Israel’s traditional enemies would now become America’s as well. And Israel would have a better chance of dealing with the Palestinians under the cover of a “war on terrorism.”
In the October 29, 2002, issue of The Weekly Standard, Kagan and Kristol predict a wider Middle Eastern war:
When all is said and done, the conflict in Afghanistan will be to the war on terrorism what the North Africa campaign was to World War II: an essential beginning on the path to victory. But compared with what looms over the horizon — a wide-ranging war in locales from Central Asia to the Middle East and, unfortunately, back again to the United States — Afghanistan will prove but an opening battle…. But this war will not end in Afghanistan. It is going to spread and engulf a number of countries in conflicts of varying intensity. It could well require the use of American military power in multiple places simultaneously. It is going to resemble the clash of civilizations that everyone has hoped to avoid.
In the immediate aftermath of 9/11, administration heavyweights debated the scope of the “war on terrorism.” According to Bob Woodward’s Bush at War, as early as September 12 Rumsfeld “raised the question of attacking Iraq. Why shouldn’t we go against Iraq, not just al Qaeda? he asked. Rumsfeld was speaking not only for himself when he raised the question. His deputy, Paul D. Wolfowitz, was committed to a policy that would make Iraq a principal target of the first round in the war on terrorism.”
Woodward adds, “The terrorist attacks of September 11 gave the United States a new window to go after Hussein.” On September 15, Wolfowitz put forth military arguments to justify a U.S. attack on Iraq rather than Afghanistan. Wolfowitz expressed the view that “attacking Afghanistan would be uncertain,” voicing the fear that American troops would be “bogged down in mountain fighting…. In contrast, Iraq was a brittle, oppressive regime that might break easily. It was doable.”
Within Israel herself, however, the Arabs would not be expected to adopt a “new political culture”; they would be expected to vanish.
Even the dean of Israel’s revisionist historians, Benny Morris, explicitly endorsed the expulsion of the Palestinians in the event of war. “This land is so small,” Morris exclaimed, “that there isn’t room for two peoples. In fifty or a hundred years, there will only be one state between the sea and the Jordan. That state must be Israel.”
As is now apparent, the “war on terrorism” was never intended to be a war to apprehend and punish the perpetrators of the September 11 atrocities. September 11 simply provided a pretext for government leaders to implement long-term policy plans. As has been pointed out elsewhere, including in my own writing, oil interests and American imperialists looked upon the war as a way to incorporate oil-rich Central Asia within the American imperial orbit. While that has been achieved, the American-sponsored government of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan is in a perilous situation. Karzai’s power seems to be limited to his immediate vicinity, and he must be protected by American bodyguards. The rest of Afghanistan is being fought over by various war lords and even the resurgent Taliban. Instead of putting forth the effort to help consolidate its position in Central Asia, Washington has shifted its focus to gaining control of the Middle East.
It now appears that the primary policymakers in the Bush administration have been the Likudnik neoconservatives all along. Control of Central Asia is secondary to control of the Middle East. In fact, for the leading neocons, the war on Afghanistan may simply have been an opening gambit, necessary for reaching their ultimate and crucial goal: U.S. control of the Middle East in the interests of Israel. That is analogous to what revisionist historians have presented as Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “back door to war” approach to World War II. Roosevelt sought war with Japan in order to be able to fight Germany, and he provoked Japan into attacking U.S. colonial possessions in the Far East. Once the United States got into war through the back door, Roosevelt focused the American military effort on Germany.
The deductions drawn in this essay seem obvious but are rarely broached in public because Jewish power is a taboo subject. As the intrepid Joseph Sobran puts it: “It’s permissible to discuss the power of every other group, from the Black Muslims to the Christian Right, but the much greater power of the Jewish establishment is off-limits.”
So in a check for “hate” or “anti-Semitism,” let’s recapitulate the major points made in this essay. First, the initiation of a Middle East war to solve Israeli security problems has been a long-standing idea among Israeli rightist Likudniks. Next, Likudnik-oriented neoconservatives argued for American involvement in such a war prior to the atrocities of September 11, 2001. Since September 11, neocons have taken the lead in advocating such a war; and they hold influential foreign policy and national security positions in the Bush administration.
If Israel and Jews were not involved, there would be nothing extraordinary about my thesis. In the history of foreign policy, it has frequently been maintained that various leading figures were motivated by ties to business, an ideology, or a foreign country. In his Farewell Address, George Washington expressed the view that the greatest danger to American foreign relations would be the “passionate attachment” of influential Americans to a foreign power, which would orient U.S. foreign policy for the benefit of that power to the detriment of the United States. It is just such a situation that currently exists.
More – entire essay
A French report ruling out poisoning in Yasser Arafat’s 2004 death has a glaring inconsistency, the co-author of a Swiss probe said Thursday, sticking by his team’s conclusion that the Palestinian leader was likely killed.
“Our data lean more towards the thesis of poisoning than in the opposite direction,” Professor François Bochud, head of the Lausanne Institute of Applied Radiophysics, told AFP.
Bochud is the co-author of a report published last month that said the high levels of polonium – a rare and highly radioactive element – found in Arafat’s remains and personal effects indicated third party involvement in his death.
An as-yet unpublished French report however rules out poisoning, a source close to the probe said this week, with an argument that the naturally occurring radioactive element radon, found in the ground, explained the high polonium levels.
Bochud, who has read the French report, stressed that the 107-page Swiss study had presented numerous arguments against that theory, the most compelling being that other remains exhumed from the same cemetery did not contain excessive levels of polonium.
Both the Swiss and the French experts thoroughly cleaned Arafat’s bones to remove external contamination before carrying out their measurements, and proceeded to find identical levels of polonium, he pointed out.
“I have a hard time understanding why they, on one side say they have thoroughly cleaned the bones and eliminated contaminations, and at the same time explain their measurements with the very contamination they supposedly eliminated,” he said.
“It’s a bit difficult to follow their reasoning,” he added.
The circumstances of Arafat’s death aged 75 at a military hospital near Paris in November 2004 after a sudden deterioration in his health have long been mired in rumor and speculation.
France opened a formal murder inquiry in August 2012, a month after an documentary by the al-Jazeera television network linked Arafat’s death to polonium poisoning.
Some 60 samples were taken from his remains in November 2012 and divided between Swiss and Russian investigators and a French team carrying out a probe at his widow’s request.
Many Palestinians believe he was poisoned by Israel – a claim denied by the Jewish state.
The American Studies Association, a 60-year old US academic organization with 5,000 members, passed a resolution on Wednesday committing to the boycott movement against Israel.
Citing its commitment to “the pursuit of social justice” and to “the struggle against all forms of racism,” the ASA revealed in a statement published on its website that it had voted to support the academic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.
“The American Studies Association endorses and will honor the call of Palestinian civil society for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions,” the statement read.
“The ASA supports the protected rights of students and scholars everywhere to engage in research and public speaking about Israel-Palestine and in support of the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement.”
ASA noted the “significant role” played by the United States “in enabling the Israeli occupation of Palestine and the expansion of illegal settlements and the [apartheid] Wall in violation of international law, as well as in supporting the systematic discrimination against Palestinians, which has had documented devastating impact on the overall well-being, the exercise of political and human rights, the freedom of movement, and the educational opportunities of Palestinians.”
The BDS movement has gained traction over the past years, as a growing number of scholars and academic entities have committed to the cause.
More than 950 scholars working in American institutions have endorsed the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel.
The Association for Asian American Studies became the first US academic organization to officially support the boycott movement in April.
In May, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking withdrew from an Israeli conference, citing his decision to respect the Israel boycott.
David Letwin (Jews for Palestinian Right of Return) interviews Dr. Haidar Eid, Associate Professor, Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. Dr. Eid is also a one-state activist and a member of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).
David Letwin: Many Palestinian solidarity activists in this country put their main efforts into opposing the 1967 occupation and more recently, Israel’s siege of Gaza. But you and other Palestinians have argued that Palestinian refugees’ right to return is at the core of the struggle for justice. Why is this?
Haidar Eid: Zionist dispossession and oppression of Palestinians does not begin with 1967. It goes back to 1948, when more than 750,000 Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from villages and towns in Palestine, and were deported to neighboring countries: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria ,Gaza and the West Bank to make way for an apartheid “Jewish state.”
Then, in 1967, Israel occupied the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem, which represents the remaining twenty-two percent of historic Palestine.
As a result of this systematic and ongoing ethnic cleansing, fully two-thirds of the Palestinian people are refugees entitled to their right of return to their original homeland, in accordance with United Nations resolution 194. This is the root of the Palestine issue.
Solidarity supporters that only take the cause back to 1967 are ignoring the source of the problem, and reflecting the Zionist Left in Israel, which wants separation of Palestinians from Israeli Jews.
Can this central right of return be realized if there is a Jewish state anywhere in historic Palestine?
No, that is an impossibility. Zionism, by nature, is an exclusionary ideology that doesn’t accept the “Other.” And the “Other,” in Zionist ideology, is the Palestinian — the Arab in the historic land of Palestine. So a Jewish state means the denial of rights to non-Jews. I am from a refugee family, but because I am not born from a Jewish mother, I’m not entitled to citizenship in the state of Israel; I’m not entitled to my right of return.
How does this fit into your analysis of the Two-State versus the One-State Solution?
The two-state solution is a racist solution that calls for a “pure Jewish state”, and a “pure Palestinian state,” both of which would be based on ethno-religious identities. It does not take into account the rights of two-thirds of the Palestinian people. Neither does it take into consideration the national and cultural rights of 1.2 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, who live as second-, if not third-class citizens of the state. This is extremely important.
Furthermore, the Palestinian struggle is not about independence — it is about liberation. Liberation is very different from independence, because our right to self-determination must lead to the right of return and full equality for all inhabitants of the state of Palestine.
The two-state solution is a racist dogma that cannot guarantee all the rights demanded by the 2005 BDS call around which we have a Palestinian consensus: withdrawal of Israeli troops from the Arab lands occupied in 1967; implementation of UN resolution 194, which calls for the right of return of all Palestinian refugees and their descendants; and an end to Israel’s apartheid policies against Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel. I’m sorry that we have solidarity activists who have fallen into the trap of supporting this so-called solution. Would supporters from the United States of America accept a state that officially discriminates against African Americans? Did South African supporters accept the “Bantustan solution”? No, they didn’t! So why accept it for the Palestinians?
And the One-State Solution?
The one-state solution is the only solution through which the Palestinian rights called for by the BDS movement can be achieved. Moreover, it is a very generous compromise from the oppressed colonized to the settler colonialists, offering citizenship in a state with total equality, exactly like what happened in South Africa, where white settlers were offered the same generous compromise by the indigenous population.
This is the 21st century, after all! We are offering a humane, inclusive solution that is not based on ethno-religious identity: a secular state for ALL of its citizens, regardless of religion, ethnicity, gender, etcetera.
If you’re really a supporter of Palestine, you are supposed to support our right to self-determination, which ultimately leads to a secular democratic state throughout all of historic Palestine. Otherwise, you would be supporting a racist solution! I don’t think that genuine support for Palestine excludes Right of Return. If that is the case, then where are the Palestinian refugees supposed to return? To an apartheid state that defines itself in ethno-religious terms? A state that is not their state since it is the state of Jews only?!
In a 2009 interview, BDS leader Omar Barghouti said, “I am completely against bi-nationalism. A secular, democratic state, yes, but not bi-national. There is a big difference.” Do you agree? And what, in your opinion, is the difference?
Yes, I completely agree. A bi-national state by definition is a state made up of two nations. These two nations are historically entitled to the land. But Jews do not constitute a nation. Israeli Jews constitute a settler-colonialist community, not unlike the whites of South Africa or the French in Algeria. Settler colonists are not entitled to self-determination. However, the indigenous people of Palestine, Muslims, Christians and Jews, are all entitled to self-determination and they do constitute a nation.
In fact, bi-nationalism is a Zionist idea since it looks at ALL Jews as a nation that is entitled to the land.
What do you say to people who say, “OK, I agree with what you’re saying. But let’s be honest. Two-states is the only realistic solution, and if you really want to help Palestinians, you should focus on ending the immediate problem of the Occupation and supporting the two-state solution”?
I would say that the one-state solution is more practical/realistic than the two-state solution. South Africa proved that civic democracy for all the inhabitants of South Africa was the way forward; the land of South Africa, according to the Freedom Charter, belongs to ALL those who live on it. That’s a lesson that we need to learn from history.
Israel has shot the two-state solution in the head by creating news facts on the ground: by annexing Jerusalem, having a “Greater Jerusalem,” and by increasing the number of settlers and expanding the existing illegal colonies (all colonies are illegal). In 1993, when the Oslo Accords were signed, the illusion of peace prevailed, unfortunately. People believed that it was possible to have two states: a Palestinian state on twenty-two percent of historic Palestine.
That year, 1993, the number of Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, was 193,000. Twenty years later, the number of settlers in the West Bank has risen to 600,000. Israeli settlements — or rather the Jewish-only colonies, since Palestinians are not allowed to live there — have become towns and cities. Which means that Israel is not planning to leave the West Bank at all. And during these twenty years, Israel has erected a monstrous apartheid wall that separates Palestinians from Israelis, and Palestinians from Palestinians.
Israel has also transformed the Gaza Strip into a concentration camp (as much as these two words might disturb some people who claim to have monopoly on victimhood), an open-air prison. There is no communication between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. The whole issue is personal for me; it is personal for all Palestinians. For example, my sister lives in Bethlehem, just a one-hour drive from Gaza. But I have not been able to see her for fifteen years. When both our parents died back in 2005, she was not able to come to their funerals. That personal experience tells you about the impossibility of having two-states.
So, just to clarify, you don’t support the one-state solution just because a two-state solution has “failed”; you support it because one-state is the only just solution, is that correct?
Absolutely correct. Even if you implemented the two-state solution — which is an impossibility — it does not fulfill the right of self-determination, which is right of return, equality and freedom. The two-state solution doesn’t do that.
At the 2013 Left Forum in New York, Steven Shalom argued that, while unjust, the “two-state solution” nevertheless paves the way for one democratic state and should be supported on that basis. Do you agree?
No, I do not! Does also think that the Anti-apartheid movement should have accepted the Bantustan solution based on the same logic? I have already made it clear in my previous answers and articles as to why that is a fallacy. A racist solution cannot pave the way to a just solution.
Archbishops Desmund Tutu said that “[they] wanted the full menu of rights.” Why are we expected to cater for less than that? I fail to understand.
Is it presumptuous for Jews and other non-Palestinians to endorse the call for one democratic state?
I strongly believe that all solidarity supporters should heed the call for one-state made by the oppressed Palestinians. They should be principled in their support for human rights and democracy as expressed through the Universal Declaration for Human Rights. Does the two-state solution subscribe to that declaration? No. Then logic and principle demands they should support the call for the solution that does, the solution that calls for civic democracy and equality throughout all of historic Palestine.
After all, activists didn’t feel it was presumptuous to support a single democratic state in South Africa, did they? And when the “president” of Transkei called on the international community to support and recognize his “independent homeland,” – his version of the “two-state solution” — international anti-apartheid activists did not buy that line!
And, by the way, most South Africa anti-apartheid activists who have visited Palestine now support the one-state solution. Some of my South African friends and comrades say it very clearly: “The one-state solution is the only solution, because we can’t support a racist solution.” That’s why even the official South African line of supporting a two-state solution is not that popular amongst South African solidarity supporters of Palestine — not to say even amongst members of the cabinet! They know what racism is all about! The five-state solution in South Africa was the brainchild of the architects of Apartheid: White South Africa on 88 per cent of the land, and four “Independent Homelands”/Bantustans for the natives! In fact, the original plan was to have 11 Bantustans, if four was not enough for you!
The solidarity movement supported the call for civic democracy and a secular democratic state in South Africa, because that was the only solution. There could be no compromise, no negotiations with apartheid. The same thing should apply to the Palestine solidarity movement. Why is that so difficult to understand?!
In a recent interview, Noam Chomsky said that the one-state solution was an “illusion” because it “has no international support.” How do you respond?
Did he also add the that the two-state solution has become a facade, a fantasy in the head of those who believe in fantasies? Didn’t he also argue in his latest piece in Mondoweiss that Israel and the US have killed the two-state solution?
Personally, I feel heart-broken when I see an extremely smart thinker like Chomsky missing the point and deciding to adopt a soft-Zionist position! There is something with people like Chomsky and Finkelstein with whom you tend to agree about everything in the world except on Palestine. That’s why, understandably, some BDS and one-state activists in the US call them PEP (Progressive except on Palestine!)
There is an overwhelming international support for our right to self-determination; and this entails our right of return and equality. How is the two-state solution going to deal with these two internationally sanctioned rights? Chomsky fails to provide an answer, unless he thinks we are not entitled to our right of return and equality! He is smart enough to know that the two-state solution is a racist one. Didn’t he think so about the Bantustans of South Africa?!
You recently said, “At one point in time, the BDS movement will be asked to take that stand” in favor of one democratic state. Why has the BDS campaign refrained from taking this stand so far, and should it do so now?
Every activist knows very by now that the BDS movement is rights-based, rights that are guaranteed for ALL human beings regardless of ethnicity, gender, nationality, religion, etcetera. BDS is guided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. That is why most, if not all, BDS activists are staunch human rights defenders.
I am, nevertheless, aware of tensions arising from the Boycott National Committee’s lack of a political program and its focus on a rights-based approach. This issue is certainly worthy of discussion within the BNC’s secretariat.
But we also need to take into consideration that the BNC is a coalition with all the compromises coalitions have to make in order to work as a front. That is why the BNC has become the frame of reference for international boycott movements. I believe that a good comparison with the South African experience, within this context, can be made, which shouldn’t overlook the role of the United Democratic Front (UDF) that functioned with representation from the National Congress Party, as well as other political parties and civil society organizations in exactly the same manner as the BNC. The UDF adopted two out of what South Africans called the “four pillars of struggle,” namely mass mobilization and the boycott campaign. History stands witness to this approach that contributed immensely to ending apartheid. In my opinion, the BNC has learnt this historical lesson from South Africa. But it took the international community about 30 years to heed the call made by the anti-apartheid movement, whereas the Palestinian BDS call was made in 2005 only.
That is why I think there will come a time when BDS will be asked to take a stand vis-à-vis the one or two-state solution. And I strongly believe that it will come in support of the former.
How is the call for a single secular democratic state throughout historic Palestine connected to other liberation struggles in the region?
When the Arab Spring started in Tunisia and Egypt, Israel was extremely worried because the struggle in the Arab world is for human rights and democracy. And democracy is the antithesis of Zionism; exactly the same way democracy in South Africa was the antithesis of apartheid, and which ultimately led to the end of institutional apartheid there in 1994. (I still think that economic apartheid exists in South Africa, but this is something we can address in another context)
As a Zionist project, Israel knows very well that true democracy in the Arab world would spread and reach Palestine. Israel would be expected by the international community and by the Arab Spring to be truly democratic. That means one person, one vote. And after the right of return, one person, one vote would ultimately lead to the collapse of the Zionist enterprise in Palestine.
That, to my mind, is the link between the Palestinian struggle for freedom, self-determination, and liberation, and the struggle for democracy and human rights in the Arab world.
Speaking of BDS, Norman Finkelstein recently accused the BDS campaign of hypocrisy for appealing to international law when it comes to Palestinian rights, but refusing to respect international resolutions, like the 1947 UN partition, that — he claims — legitimize the existence of the “Jewish state.” How do you respond?
I’m so sorry to hear that from a smart person like Norman Finkelstein.
As US solidarity supporters, you have principles. You can’t reconcile an unjust partition and apartheid with human rights and democracy. Has Norman Finkelstein forgotten that Israel defines itself as the state of Jews only? Do you expect me to recognize something like this, just because the United Nations declared it to be so? We recognize those laws and resolutions, like 194, that are just and reject those, like the partition resolution, that are unjust. That is the way all human rights struggles have operated. How is that hypocritical?
That is how it was in the struggle against apartheid South Africa. Whether it was Norman Finkelstein or his mentor Noam Chomsky, everybody heeded the call by South Africans. We all said, “What do you want, you oppressed, colonized South Africans?” They said, “We want an end to apartheid.” And right now, Palestinians are saying we want an end to Israeli apartheid.
And I would have understood him had he supported the two-state solution based on UN resolution 181, passed in 1947; it offered to partition Palestine into an Arab and a Jewish state as THE solution! It is a very unfair and problematic resolution in that it offered the Jewish minority (660,000 out of 2 million people) the larger part of the land (56%). This 56 percent, offered to the Jews, included an equal number of Jews and Palestinians. And since most Zionists, soft or not, fought for a Jewish majority in Palestine, that ultimately led to the NAKBAH, i.e, an orchestrated process of ethnic cleansing. Two-staters, such as Finkelstein, do say that a Palestinian state should be established on 44 per cent of Palestine based on UN resolutions!
So I would argue that it’s Norman Finkelstein who’s being hypocritical, because he is unwilling to do for Palestinians what he and all other activists did for South Africans. And in fact, he’s being Zionist and racist when he actually expects us Palestinians to listen to what he has to say in the first place. No, excuse me — he is supposed to listen to what *we* have to say. Unless he has decided to ignore the fact that the 2005 BDS call has been endorsed by the overwhelming majority of Palestinian Civil Society, including National and Islamist forces! Is that not enough for you if you were a genuine supporter of Palestine?
It has been twenty years since Oslo Accords were signed. What effect did these accords, and the so-called “Peace Process,” have on the struggle for the core Palestinian rights called for by BDS: equality, right of return, and end of Occupation?
I’ll sum it by quoting Edward Said in 1993: the Oslo Accords are a second Nakba. Oslo has reduced the Palestinian people to those who only live in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, while excluding Palestinian refugees and Palestinian citizens of the state of Israel. Oslo never alluded to Palestinian’s right to return to their villages and towns from which they were ethnically cleansed in 1948 and never alluded to equality in the 1948 territories. Oslo basically codified and legitimized the ethnic cleansing — the Nakba — of 1948.
Oslo also gave a false impression to the international community that you have “two equal parties” — Palestinians on the one hand, and the Israelis on the other — engaged in “dialogue” to solve their problem. But there are not two equal parties. There is no dialogue. There is an apartheid regime seeking to perpetuate its rule on the one hand, and an indigenous people struggling for their inalienable rights on the other.
Rather than acknowledging the necessity of disassembling this apartheid regime once and for all, Oslo fetishized the trappings of statehood, that if you offer Palestinians a flag and a red carpet for its president and a national anthem, then you have solved the Palestinian question once and for all!
Going back to Norman Finkelstein: you have the struggle of colonized Palestinians against settler colonialists — thanks to the BDS movement, thanks to the formation of the BNC, thanks to the formation of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, and thanks to the revival of the one-state idea. You have intellectuals and activists like Edward Said, Azmi Bishara, Ali Abunimah, Omar Barghouti, Ramzy Baroud, Joesph Masaad, Ilan Pappe and all these people who have decided to say farewell to the two-state solution, and to endorse the one-state solution.
As solidarity supporters you need to support democracy and human rights — the same principles you followed in the Eighties against apartheid South Africa. You didn’t waste time discussing the practicalities of having Bantustans in South Africa. So you need to join us in putting the two-state solution on the shelf in a museum, because it delays our liberation, and support our call for one-state.
- David Letwin is a member of Jews for Palestinian Right of Return. Dr. Haidar Eid is an Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature, Al-Aqsa University, Gaza Strip, Palestine. Dr. Eid is also a one-state activist and a member of Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI).