Haim Saban and Barack Obama pay tribute to Hillary Clinton: “People can work together on behalf of the country they love”
Aired: November 30, 2012 on C-SPAN
The Saban Forum 2012 (which focuses on Middle East issues as related to U.S. foreign policy) kicked off with a keynote speech by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Clinton’s remarks were immediately preceded by a tribute video to her career in service of the United States. President Barack Obama, Senator John McCain, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and others are featured offering praise for Secretary Clinton’s life, career, and good works.
- Not Even a Star-Studded Tribute Can Convince Hillary Clinton to Run for President (Yet) (jezebel.com)
- The case against Hillary (salon.com)
- Hillary is Running: A Dispatch from the Saban Forum (newyorker.com)
On 18 November 2012, on the fifth day of the Israeli military offensive “Pillar of Defence” against Gaza, a war bulletin reported 72 people killed, including 19 children, 670 wounded, most of them women and children. That day, the Israeli air force bombed a three-storey building in Nasser Street, Gaza City, wiping out an entire family.
I was, like every day, at Shifa hospital. Suddenly ambulances brought the bodies of the young victims of the brutal attack:
Ibrahim Al Dalu, 11 months old
Jamal Al Dalu, 6 years old
Yousif Al Dalu, 5 years old
Sara Al Dalu, 3 years old
Even their mother died: Samah Al Dalu, 22, and their father, Mohammed Al Dalu, 28. The children’s Aunt also died, Ranin Al Dalu, 22, and the second aunt, Yara Al Dalu, 17, whose body was found just after 4 days in the rubble of the building. And also the two grandmothers died, Suhila Al Dalu, 75, and Tahina Al Dalu, 48. The bombing of the building of the Al Dalu family also hit a building next door, where two people were killed: Mzanar Abdallah, 20, and Amina Mznar, 80. A whole family was wiped out. The bombing took place on the entire three-story building which was completely destroyed.
Shifa hospital, 19 November 2012, bodies of the young victims. By the bodies, Yasser Saluha, the brother of the children’s mother.
On Monday, December 3rd, 2012, I had the opportunity to talk to the brother of the father of the children, Abdallah Jamal Al Dalu (20 years old). He talked about that night. “I was out with my father to to get food, when I received a call where I was told that my house had collapsed. I was shocked.” Abdallah and his father lived in the same building where he lived with the rest of his family.
In Gaza extended families often live together in the same building. Abdallah and his father are the only survivors of the Al Dalu family. All the other members of the family died under the rubble.
“I went home, I saw it destroyed, I could not speak,” continued Abdallah, crying. “My whole family was in the house. Then I went to the hospital and saw the bodies, it was a disaster.” Abdallah’s eyes were reliving what they had seen that afternoon.
Four days after the bombing Palestinian bulldozers excavating the rubble found the bodies of the children’s father, Mohammed Jamal Al Dalu and aunt, Yara Al Dalu.
Now Abdallah and his father are renting another house. They do not have beds to sleep in or the necessary living facilities, nor do they have clothes to wear.
Abdullah has asked us to ask the International Criminal Court to investigate what happened. “Children and women were killed in this massacre.”
Before leaving, I entered another building of the brothers of Mohammed Jamal Al Dalu, and Ahmal Jamal Al Dalu. Ahmal was not in Gaza during the war, but in Turkey, where he lives with his wife and family. “We want justice”, said Ahmal. “We want justice more than financial aid, because the money can go. What has happened is not a mistake, it is a crime. It is inhuman. It is not the first crime, crimes have been repeating for 64 years. We live without water, without electricity. It’s enough. ”
I translated his words in the darkness of the building while a friend lit up my notebook with only the light of the phone, and I said goodbye with a promise to stay in touch.
Our task now is to ensure that these crimes are not forgotten and that the Al Dalu family receives justice by bringing what happened to the International Criminal Court.
Photo of Abdallah Jamal Al Dalu, the brother of Mohammed Jamal Al Dalu
The Al Dalu family bombed home
The Al Dalu family bombed home
The building next to the Al Dalu house bombed, in which two people died, Mzanar Abdallah, 20, and Amina Mznar, 80. The old woman was in a wheelchair and was in the kitchen at the time of the bombing. Her wheelchair was found in the rubble. See more photos here.
It’s only December, but it looks like the Pentagon has all planned out how they’ll spend a good part of 2013. US officials now claim that the Defense Department is busy preparing a military operation in the nation of Mali.
United States officials with knowledge of the matter tell the Washington Post that the Department of Defense and the US State Department will assist next year in a mission to overthrow Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qaeda who took under control a significant part of Mali, a small West African country that is still picking itself up after a coup this past March.
Earlier this year, military officers displaced the administration of then-President Amandou Toumani Toure, claiming that he was reluctant in addressing the extremist issue himself. However since then the military junta failed to improve security in the country and retake control of the northern part of Mali captured by the Islamists. Now the US is claiming that it’s ready to help the military rulers, even though it may be a clear violation of American laws: the Pentagon cannot assist first-hand with people responsible for ousting a democratically elected leader. That doesn’t mean, however, that Washington won’t find a way to send support overseas.
According to testimonies from officials speaking to the Post, both the Pentagon and State Department will assist opposition to the terrorists by training, equipping and transporting troops to tackle what Sen. Christopher A. Coons (D-Delaware) has called “the largest territory controlled by Islamic extremists in the world.”
Speaking on the record, though, the Pentagon’s deputy assistant secretary for Africa tells the paper that US influence might not end there.
“There’s plenty of other forms of information and intelligence that are circulating that give us enough insight for planning purposes,” the Defense Department’s Amanda J. Dory tells the Post this week. According to the paper, Dory also floated the possibility of US warplanes being deployed to North Arica to provide troops there with aerial protection.
“We definitely don’t know how that would work out,” Dory says.
In advance of next year’s expected war, the State Department and the Treasury announced this week that they have blacklisted two Mali extremist groups, the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, as terrorists officially in the eyes of Uncle Sam. The Associated Press reports that doing such will make any of those groups’ members ineligible to receive assistance from the US or conduct business, the start of crippling sanctions expected to continue until eventual military intervention.
Meanwhile, though, the wheels are indeed in motion in terms of starting to send US support towards Mali. On Wednesday, Johnnie Carson, assistant secretary for African Affairs under US President Barack Obama, said “We have sent military planners to [the Economic Community of West African States] to assist with the continued development and refinement of the plans for international intervention.”
Carson acknowledged that US assistance will be needed in order to overthrow al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, but added, “it must be African-led; it must be Malian-led.”
Testifying to Congress, Rep. Dory adds that AQIM and its affiliates “took over administration of northern cities and began imposing a harsh version of Sharia law” in Mali. “This expanded safe haven and control of territory allows al-Qaeda and affiliates to recruit supporters more easily and to export extremism.”
- Pentagon considering Air Force support for intervention in Mali (alethonews.wordpress.com)
The Mavrix, a South African band, are known for their solidarity with the Palestinian cause. Their musical message reached all the way into the hearts of the Palestinians of Gaza and received international acclaim, when they released their well-known music video “The New Black”, which also featured Palestinian Oud player Mohammed Omar from Gaza.
The music video that features the song from the album “Pura Vida”, draws parallels between South African apartheid and Israeli apartheid and the current occupation of Palestine. The band’s inclination to solidarity with Palestine against apartheid and oppression is also expressed on this album in the songs “Palestinian as One”, and a song written by founding member Jeremy Karodia called “Burnt Humus”, for his friend in Gaza, Haidar Eid.
Responding to the recent Israeli atrocities against the people of Gaza of last month, The Mavrix have made ‘Palestinian as One’ available for free download. You can listen to the song here, and download it. You can also watch this music video based on this song, that was not made by the Mavrix, but by a Youtube user using their song and combining it with pictures of worldwide pro-Palestine solidarity.
This unique South African band combines purity of sound and composition with a powerful and penetrating message.
The roots of The Mavrix go back to the 1980′s and the struggle against apartheid in South Africa. The founding members, composers/musicians, Jeremy Karodia and Ayub Mayet, floated in and out of their roles as activists and artists, artists and activists, finally settling as activist artists writing music that reflected life in apartheid South Africa. During that period, The Mavrix consisted of Karodia on guitar/vocals and Mayet on vocals.
After the birth of a new South African democracy in 1994, The Mavrix evolved by adding new songs and music to their repertoire with the addition of new musicians, Shahzaadee Karodia on violin, Ketan Parshotham on tabla and Reshma Lalla on santoor to accompany Karodia’s guitar and Mayet’s vocals.
Styled in Western Folk and fused with African and North Indian rhythms and melodies, the band recorded their first album, “Guantanamo Bay”, in 2004 as a response to the growing phenomenon of global poverty, political detentions, drug abuse, domestic violence, child abuse and occupation/invasion and war. The album fused Western instruments with Indian and African instruments. Reza Khota on guitar, Godfrey Mgcina on African percussion and Marc Duby on bass played as session musicians on the cd.
The title song, “Guantanamo Bay”, was written to highlight the parallels between the United States’ infamous Guantanamo Bay prison and apartheid South Africa’s own political detention camp, Robben Island, on which most of the liberation movement’s political leaders including Nelson Mandela, were incarcerated. Other songs such as “Promised Land” highlighted the invasion of Iraq and the occupation of Palestine.
In 2007 the band began writing new songs and had a change in personnel. With Parshotham and Lalla having left the band, Ravi Naidoo on vocals, Corvin Brady on violin and Pravesh Vallabh on tabla joined the group. The Mavrix began work on a new album called “Pura Vida”.
True to the sound of their first cd, “Guantanamo Bay”, released in 2004/2005, the new album reflects the band’s diverse brand of fusing African, Indian classical and Western musical styles in the “folk/rock” genre. The 14 songs are just as diverse in lyrical content as the variety of instrumentation on the album.
The album features an array of talented and versatile local and international musicians who accompanied the band to create an album embellished by multiple instruments and musical arrangements. Johannesburg based Denny Lalouette and Gregs Moonsammy on bass, Pahlad Singh on accordion, Kreasan Moodley on harmonium, a string trio featuring Ruby Ngoasheng on viola, Kagiso Molete on violin and Sizekello Shuba on cello, Wian Joubert on percussion, Durban based santoor player, Ashwin Morar and Palestinian Oud player, Mohamed Omar helped create a unique style that The Mavrix have become known for.
Whilst The Mavrix compose songs passionately about global issues that affect communities in their day to day lives, the band have also written and composed songs on the “Pura Vida” album about spirituality and romance. Songs such as the title track, “Pura Vida” and “Legend”, expose a spiritual feel in musical arrangement and content. “Chapatti Girl”, “Angel” and “This house ain’t cold no more” are compositions that reflect the “non activist” side of the band.
“Pura Vida”, in Spanish, means pure life and after 28 years of performing, composing and writing music based on struggle and human interests, the album title reflects the band’s commitment towards global justice and world peace.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says his cancer has returned and he needs to return to Cuba immediately for further treatment.
Chavez said he would go back to Cuba on Sunday to undergo surgery due to the discovery of new cancer cells during his Cuba trip last week.
The announcement of departure for Havana comes on the heels of his Friday return from Cuba following ten days of treatment in the country.
“I need to, I must return to Havana tomorrow in order to confront this new battle,” Chavez said at the Miraflores presidential palace.
“Unfortunately, during these exhaustive exams they found some malignant cells in the same area. It is absolutely necessary, absolutely essential, that I have to undergo a new surgical intervention.”
The Venezuelan president called on his supporters to vote for Vice President Nicolas Maduro in the event his health failed or anything happened to him.
Chavez flew back to Cuba on the night of November 27 to undergo several sessions of hyperbaric oxygenation, which is typically employed to lessen the decay of bones because of radiation therapy.
The 58-year-old has been fighting with cancer in the pelvic area. He began the treatment in Cuba following a tumor removal in March 2011.
The final round of Chavez’s radiation treatment in Cuba was in April and he declared himself free of cancer in May.
God bless Philip Weiss, the progressive Jewish blogger brave enough to admit in public those things other Jewish ethnic activists prefer to shove under the carpet. A year ago, Weiss was brave enough to confess to me that it is ‘Jewish self interests’ that stands at the core of his pro Palestinian activism. Also, a few weeks ago, the same Weiss was honest enough to announce that his Jewish ‘progressive’ internet journal, Mondowiess, changed its comment policy and “will no longer serve as a forum to pillory Jewish culture and religion as the driving factors in Israeli and US policy.”
But this week, the very same Weiss published a new polemic on his website. He now thinks that “it’s time for the media to talk about Zionism.” So, now Weiss is happy to join with the rest of us in talking about Zionism – so long as we avoid discussing ‘Jewishness’. Well, I’m afraid that Philip Weiss may have missed the train since, by now, many of us have already grasped that the time is ripe to talk about Jewishness and the role of ‘Jewish culture as the driving factor in Israeli and US policy.’
Weiss’ logic is no doubt fascinating. This Jewish ethnic activist does provide us with an insight into the level of deceit that is, unfortunately, inherent to Jewish left politics.
Weiss thinks Jews should ask themselves whether they really are ‘unsafe’ in America. Well, Weiss must know plenty about ‘safety’ since it was he himself who felt that it may be ‘risky’ to discuss Jewish culture and religion on his own Mondoweiss.
“Zionism,” he continues, “draws on a person’s worldview and has a religious character, it supplies meaning to his or her life.” Well again, Weiss should know because, like all Zionists, both overt and covert, he operates within a Jews-only political cell namely “Jews Voice for Peace’ (JVP). For some reason, just like his less enlightened brethren, this very ‘progressive’ activist prefers to surround himself with members of his own tribe.
Weiss well knows why the media avoids discussing Zionism, “it would involve a lot of squeamish self-interrogation on the part of Jews,” and Weiss knows what this means. That’s why he, and his Jewish partner Adam Horowitz, banned Jeff Blankfort from commenting on their site – Blankfort was critically discussing Jewish related topics. Weiss couldn’t allow it.
Weiss is brave enough to admit that “the acknowledgment of Jewish prominence in the Establishment, and of the power of Zionism, would make a lot of Jews uncomfortable”, but he isn’t bold enough to admit that the problem is far worse, since Jewish anti-Zionists like himself and JVP are relentlessly seeking a similar hegemony within the Palestinian solidarity discourse and openly campaign against prominent activists who challenge Jewish power. Is it possible that what we are dealing with here is a tribally-driven, power seeking tendency that is inherent to Jewish politics? The answer is a categorical yes, and I provide all the relevant information on this in my latest book The Wandering Who.
Weiss regards himself as an anti-Zionist while, as far as his language is concerned, he actually manifests every possible Zionist symptom. “Silence” on issues to do with Zionist power is “bad for Jews,” says Weiss. Like any Hasbara parrot he repeats the old mantra of ‘good’ vs. ‘bad’ for the Jews. But then isn’t this just what you would expect from a Zionist?
It doesn’t take Weiss too long to drop his political bomb: the silence over Zionist power “allows people who are justifiably angry over our foreign policy to believe that all Jews support Israel.” Here, Weiss is absolutely correct. It is about time to deliver the message to the American people and the entire world – Not all Jews support Israel! In fact, at least two dozen American Jews including Weiss oppose Zionism because, as Weiss confesses, because “it is really bad for the Jews.”
If you think you’ve had enough of Weiss’ Judeo-centrism read this: “Zionism came out of the real condition of Jews in Europe in the late 19th and 20th centuries. I can well imagine being a Zionist at other periods of Jewish history. I would have been a Zionist if I had been in Kafka’s circle in Prague in the 19-teens with the rise of anti-Semitism. I would have been a Zionist if I had been born into the family of my mother’s best friend in Berlin in the 1930s.”
In this embarrassing passage, Weiss, the so-called ‘anti’ Zionist, actually admits that considerations of Jewish safety would justify the colonization of Palestine. This non-ethical vision is also apparent in JVP’s latest ‘educational’ video. It is clearly consistent with the Zionist take on the primacy of Jewish suffering. Which is exactly what you would expect from a Jew who operates politically within Jewish racially-segregated cells. There is only one possible conclusion – Jewish anti Zionism is a myth. Jewish opposition to Zionism is just another form of Zionism-lite that, just like it’s right-wing counterpart, locates Jewish self-interest firmly at its core.
Weiss is a pretty clumsy spin-doctor. He argues that the current militant and totalitarian aspects of Israeli society flow from a ‘Zionist belief system’. Here, Weiss misleads his readers and I think he does this consciously. Israel defines itself as the Jewish State and as the true embodiment of Jewish culture. Its barbarism is the direct outcome of its interpretation of Jewish texts and spirit. If anything, Zionism was born to ‘civilize’ the Diaspora Jew who, certain 19th century emancipated secular Jews found so repellent. So it is not Zionism that makes Israel barbarous, it is the way Israelis interpret their cultural, spiritual and textual heritage. Of course, Weiss is welcome to suggest that there is another possible interpretation to Jewish heritage, but he should be precise and point to those Jewish texts that preach universal ethics and world peace.
Weiss reckons that once we should be brave enough to deal with Zionism, “liberal Zionists will be pressed to decide what they believe in more, liberalism or Zionism.” But still I’m puzzled. If Weiss is so open and tolerant, surely he would allow discussion on his own website concerning the Jewish character of the Jewish State. He would invite a discussion concerning the Jewishness of the Jewish Lobby. I believe that Philip Weiss is operating unwillingly and unwittingly as a Zionist fig leaf. He invests all his intellectual energy diverting attention from the root cause of the problem – namely Jewish culture and Jewish identity politics. And why? Probably because of his own unease with is own Anti Zionist Zionist behaviour.
- Concerning Mondoweiss, Racism and Freedom of Speech (Uprooted Palestinians)