Fifty thousand refugees have arrived recently in Europe and many more are on the way. They include Palestinians reliving their original catastrophe — the Nakba of 1948 — as they search for shelter. Hundreds, even thousands, have lost their lives in the process.
Until 2011, nearly half a million Palestinian refugees lived in Syria. It was generally understood that they were living the most stable lives compared to their compatriots. Yarmouk, the largest Palestinian refugee camp outside of Palestine, was described as “the capital of the Palestinian Diaspora”, and it basically became a residential extension of Damascus before it was turned into a scene of ruin, death and hunger by the Syrian conflict.
The tragedy that hit Syria has dispelled all illusions, though, with the realisation that the Palestinian refugee communities are actually extremely fragile and very quickly pay the price for any turbulence and crises in the host countries. This has happened before in Lebanon, Kuwait and Iraq.
Compared to the masses of refugees now flocking to Europe, the tragedy of the Palestinian refugees fleeing from Syria has its own characteristics. This lies in the fact that they are forced to endure a new “exodus” and suffering as they seek a place of safety, even though their homeland is little more than an hour’s drive from their refugee camps. The Palestinian families must make the long, perilous journey across borders, coasts and mountains, meeting the outrageous demands of the greedy, criminal gangs of human traffickers in order to reach Europe.
However, Europe is so preoccupied by the refugee crisis that it does not care about the essence of the problem that created it. As far as the Palestinians coming from Syria are concerned, the issue is fairly clear, so why doesn’t the European Union work towards the most logical and practical solutions, such as returning them to their own land, at least temporarily? Why is such a discussion missing from Europe’s meetings held to figure out ways to contain the crises on its borders?
Over a third of a million Palestinians, many of whom are refugees driven from their homes and camps, live in Europe. We are witnessing new chapters in their suffering; these human beings whom the Israelis have forbidden from returning to their land from which they were expelled in 1948 and 1967. They are not even allowed to visit their country, in a clear violation of international laws and conventions.
Logic dictates that we empower the Palestinian refugees with their legitimate right to return to their land and homes, which are nearby. If not, they will continue to be forced to look for safe havens across continents after disaster-ridden journeys. There is no doubt that a huge part of the responsibility for this lies with Europe, which created the historical conditions that resulted in the tragedy of the Palestinian people in the first place.
EU officials talk about the importance of linking aid to Eastern European countries with their willingness to accept their share of refugees, and there are even those who call for linking negotiations about joining the European Union to the countries’ treatment of refugees. Isn’t such discourse also required with the “Israeli partner” which benefits from many European economic, educational and military privileges and treaties?
Why is Europe unable to even think about using its influence to put pressure on the Israeli government to activate the Palestinian right of return, which was endorsed by UN General Assembly Resolution 194? The Palestinians, many of whom still have the keys to their homes in occupied Palestine, have the right to live in their homeland. The routes to their cities, towns and villages are well-known to those who want to ask about them, and maps are readily available.
If the European Union and the international community do not address the core of this issue by reviving and implementing the legitimate Palestinian right of return, then thousands will continue to head for Europe and many will die along the way. Which of these two possibilities does the EU and the rest of the world prefer?
The United Nations has called for a freeze on Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes, dozens of aid agencies and the European Union have joined in the protest, and even the U.S. State Department has voiced its dismay. Yet, even as the outcry has become an international issue and reached the highest ranks of our own government, we find a resounding silence at The New York Times.
Times readers are unlikely to know that 31 international organizations recently called on Israel to stop the “wanton destruction of Palestinian property,” including “basic humanitarian necessities,” such as solar panels, animal pens, latrines and tents supplied by the European Union. The groups asked world leaders to take “urgent action,” to hold Israel accountable for “grave breaches” of international law, and to demand reparations for the destruction of their charitable gifts.
The State Department joined both groups with statements made during a press briefing Aug. 19. When spokesman John Kirby was asked about the issue, he had a prepared declaration ready to hand.
The department was “deeply concerned” and “very troubled,” he said, calling the demolitions and evictions “harmful and provocative and indicative of a damaging trend.” He referred to the “destruction of dozens of structures and the displacement of over 150 people in the West Bank and East Jerusalem this month alone.”
His words got the attention of Israeli media, which published his comments at length, but they failed to arouse the interest of the Times.
In fact, Israel’s cruel (and illegal) policy of demolishing Palestinian property has been a constant story in alternative and Palestinian media outlets over the years, and the spate of international protests appearing this past month is not the first. Last February, for instance, some 400 rabbis from around the world urged Israel to halt demolitions in the West Bank.
Israeli forces have destroyed houses, tents, animal shelters, shops and farming structures throughout the West Bank at a steady clip, leaving 486 Palestinians displaced in 2015 as of Aug. 24. The destruction has hit the poorest and most vulnerable populations hardest, as Israel attempts to clear the land for Jewish settlers.
In the midst of this, the Times has seen fit to report on only one official demolition action this summer: the destruction of illegal Jewish settler homes in the West Bank. (This event was accompanied by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement of plans for 500 news settlement homes to replace them.)
When the demolitions have made their way into the pages of the Times, the reports have failed to reveal the full extent of the problem. This year, for instance, the paper took notice of the threatened destruction of the West Bank village Susiya, when international media attention made it impossible to ignore, but dozens of other actual demolitions found no mention in the newspaper.
Again, when bureau chief Jodi Rudoren wrote about East Jerusalem demolitions last year, she underreported the extent of the damage by omitting over 46,000 structures that have been destroyed over the years and mentioning only the 675 that took place for “punitive reasons” during the second intifada.
Although demolitions are a constant threat to thousands of Palestinians in the West Bank, the Times prefers to ignore this reality. Palestinian media, however, issue reports almost daily, and monitoring groups such as the United Nations and the Israeli organization B’Tselem struggle to keep tallies.
These groups also note that demolitions fly in the face of international rules. As the UN release states, they contravene “Israel’s obligations as an occupying power under humanitarian law and human rights law.”
Behind the numbers cited by the United Nations and other groups are thousands of individual stories: herders struggling to shelter their flocks as Israeli forces tear up sheds and corrals, children robbed of playgrounds and schools, communities forced to pay for water deliveries after bulldozers crush their pipelines, families pulling prized possessions out of the rubble of their homes.
These stories find little notice in the Times, even as aid organizations and governments from the European Union to the U.S. State Department have spoken out with alarm and dismay. On many levels, Israeli demolitions are eminently newsworthy, but this is not enough for the Times, which prefers to shield Israel above all.
They won’t anyway and it will cost us much more
There are a lot of expressions about standing up to bullies being the best policy. Unfortunately the White House has difficulty in following that sound advice when it comes to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his governing coalition of racists and thugs. And one might also add that the reticence also applies to dealing with Israel’s many friends in Congress, some of whom have apparently extorted their pound of flesh in exchange for their votes on the Iran deal.
Israel is already the military colossus in the Middle East, with formidable high tech ground, sea and air forces backed up by a semi-secret nuclear arsenal with modern delivery systems and several defensive missile system referred to as Iron Dome, Arrow 4 and David Sling. The defense systems were developed and deployed using $3 billion of U.S. Treasury special “grants” while roughly 20% of Israel’s annual total defense budget comes directly from the American taxpayer. This is all justified on the basis of sustaining Israel’s “Qualitative Military Edge,” an expression that has its own acronym QME and that is much loved by America’s national legislators, the White House and the media. In reality, Israel possesses an enormous military superiority relative to all its neighbors combined and has benefited from that capability for many years, all thanks to the United States of America.
But for some, too much is never enough. President Barack Obama is struggling to line up sufficient Democratic votes to block any congressional veto of his Iran agreement. At this point it looks like he will succeed, but the effort has brought with it the type of backstage politicking that most Americans have come to despise. Both Netanyahu and select Congressmen are being treated to a package of bribes for Israel that defies all reason, particularly given the fact that even the Israeli defense and intelligence establishments have split with Bibi’s government and sensibly declared the agreement with Iran to be better than any alternative. So even though defanging Iran is good for Israel, Washington nevertheless feels compelled to sweeten the pot, with actual American interests as usual ignored or not even considered.
How it all works has been revealed by Walter Pincus of the Washington Post, who apparently has seen a copy of a personal letter from President Obama that was sent to Democratic Congressman Jerrold Nadler, a representative from New York who was hesitating over how to cast his vote regarding Iran. Nadler’s district is reported to be heavily Jewish and the congressman, himself Jewish, has long been an outspoken advocate for Israel. The letter he received may have been similar or even identical to letters presumably sent to other Congressmen who have also been sitting on the fence over the Iran deal.
Obama, to give him his due, cleverly focuses on “our enhanced support for Israel” as the way to get to Nadler’s vote, thereby enabling the Congressman to cite what Israel will be getting out of it as he explains to his angry constituents why he is defying the call by Netanyahu to vote down the deal.
President Obama, boasting in the letter that “no administration has done more for Israel’s security than mine,” adds that he is “prepared to further strengthen the relationship.” Indeed he does. He commits the United States to extend the U.S. commitment to provide Israel with $3.5 billion per year for purchasing military equipment for an additional decade after the current George W. Bush era program expires in 2018. The letter notes a “unique element” in the purchase agreement which allows Tel Aviv to spend up to 26.3% of the money on Israeli manufactured equipment.
Beyond the $3 billion plus per annum, Obama also pledged to continue extra funding for “collaborative research and development for tunnel detection and mapping technologies,” a program that only benefits Israel. Israel will also be the only country in the Middle East to receive the new advanced F-35 fighter when it finally becomes operational next year, all paid for by the American taxpayer.
Apart from the fact that the United States is inexplicably giving billions to an Israel that has a thriving economy with Western European levels of income, there are a number of problems with this Obama deal and the nature of the “special relationship” that it represents. For Washington, Israel is the squeaking wheel that is constantly requiring applications of grease to keep quiet. The grease is liberally applied, but the wheel keeps squeaking, the noise generally emanating from the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has been directly interfering in U.S. politics since 2012.
One problem is that the United States is allowing Israel to use the money to be armed and equipped in a fashion which is directly contrary to American interests. A May offering of $1.88 billion in new equipment to Israel included 50 BLU-113 5,000 pound bombs with special penetrating nose cones that can be used against underground targets. Those targets would include Iran’s nuclear facilities, most notably its Fodrow underground uranium enrichment plant. Israel’s friends have also been agitating for the much larger 30,000 pound version of the bomb together with the heavy bombers needed to drop it on target. If past history is anything to go by it is merely a matter of time before they are granted their wish.
Bombing Iran is not exactly a U.S. interest at the moment – quite the contrary. Is it far-fetched to imagine Netanyahu staging such an attack to upset the apple cart and destroy any chance of Iranian rapprochement with Washington? A month ago I would have said no, but last week former Israeli Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak revealed that both he and Netanyahu did indeed want to bomb Iran in 2010-2012 but backed down because of technical issues and also due to the refusal of key cabinet members and military officers to support the decision.
A second problem is the authorization for Israel to spend American taxpayer money on equipment produced locally. Israel is a major weapons supplier worldwide, sometimes both selling and providing training to regimes that many consider unsavory. Its own military industrial complex was built up using the largesse coming from the United States and it now competes with American companies. It also has a well-established record of stealing United States developed military technology and then re-exporting it under its own label, a win-win for Israel but a lose-lose for American companies.
While I am far from a fan of America’s military industrial congressional complex, using American tax dollars to subsidize a foreign competitor is the height of insanity. It will cut into exports and cost American jobs. Combining that reality with the fact that no amount of bribery will make Netanyahu shut up and that Israel will likely use some of the gifted weapons in ways that will cause difficulties for Washington the constant introduction of more money and more arms for Israel is just not a good idea. Kudos to Obama for having proceeded as far as he has with the Iran agreement but if a Congressman from New York cannot for once perceive that a deal is good for America he should resign his seat and go home. Constantly playing the Israel card has not been good for politics in the United States and it has also not been good for Israel itself as well as for the Middle East region. It is time to cut the tie that binds.
If Congress derails the hard-won “P+5” nuclear deal with Iran, much blame will fall to powerful New York Sen. Charles Schumer, the first Senate Democrat to join the partisan Republican congressional majority in opposing President Obama’s landmark foreign policy achievement.
Schumer’s insistence on maintaining economic sanctions against Iran supports the undisguised neoconservative agenda of regime change in Iran. Critics of Schumer’s position have demonstrated that his arguments against the deal are disingenuous and misleading. So were his arguments for regime change in Iraq, starting with his bogus claim that Saddam Hussein’s “vigorous pursuit of biological, chemical and nuclear weapons” made him a “terrible danger to the people to the United States.”
Less well known is the fact that Schumer began almost a quarter century ago to push dubious arguments for aggressive regime change in the Middle East to serve the interests of Israeli hard-liners. His focus then was on Syria, led by Hafez Assad, the father of today’s president. And the issue, then as now, was framed around economic sanctions.
In 1990, Israeli officials and their American allies confronted a potential crisis: a thaw was developing in U.S.-Syrian relations under President George H. W. Bush. That spring, Damascus won Washington’s gratitude by obtaining the release of two American hostages held in Lebanon. Later, Syria earned major credit as one of three Arab nations to commit troops to the multinational coalition in the first Gulf War. In November 1991, following the coalition victory, Syria attended a U.S.-sponsored Middle East peace forum in Madrid and announced its willingness to negotiate a settlement with Israel.
Washington rewarded Assad by granting him a meeting with President Bush, the first between the two countries’ heads of state in 13 years. Syria continued its diplomatic offensive by releasing thousands of political prisoners and providing exit permits to Syrian Jews wishing to emigrate to Israel.
Israel and its close allies — including Schumer — fought back by trying to implicate Syria in one of the most emotionally loaded issues of the day: drug trafficking. As one American official observed at the time, “It is in the Israelis’ interest to spin the drugs claim in order to keep Syria on the U.S. State Department list of countries involved in drug trafficking.”
As I describe in my book The Lebanese Connection: Corruption, Civil War and the International Drug Traffic, no one questioned the fact that large amounts of drugs were cultivated in and shipped out of Syrian-occupied lands in Lebanon in the 1980s. At the time, during the height of the Lebanese civil war, Syrian troops occupied a section of Lebanon that included the fertile Beka’a Valley, a region long notorious for growing cannabis and opium poppies. Syria had been invited into Lebanon in 1976 by a Christian-led government to help maintain peace on terms favorable to the country’s Christian population.
The Reagan administration invoked a section of the Foreign Assistance Act to bar aid to Syria on grounds that it failed to cooperate fully with the United States in the war on drugs. But after President George H. W. Bush took office, State Department and Drug Enforcement Administration officials stated that they had no evidence that Syrian forces were running drugs as a matter of state policy, although some individual commanders were corrupt.
Their agnosticism riled Israeli officials and their U.S. allies. In 1990, the American adviser to the Israeli mission at the United Nations, writing in The Washington Post, lamented that “Washington ignores Syrian complicity in the drug trade,” which he claimed was being directed by “the inner circle of Syria’s government.” Later, pro-Israeli sources such as the controversial “terrorism expert” Steven Emerson and Michael Widlanski, who would become a “strategic affairs adviser” to the Israeli Ministry of Public Security, launched a major publicity campaign to implicate Syria’s regime in drug trafficking.
The same campaign included an undocumented but searing public indictment of Syria issued in December 1992 at the request of Rep. Charles Schumer by the Democratic staff of the House Subcommittee on Crime and Criminal Justice, which he chaired. The report, which was not endorsed by the full committee, had a partisan as well as an anti-Syria slant, as suggested by its title: “Syria, President Bush, and Drugs: The Administration’s Next Iraqgate.”
Schumer’s political indictment declared that the Bush administration “simply refuses to admit the extent to which drug corruption has been institutionalized in the Syrian military forces now occupying Lebanon.” Without specific evidence, it claimed that the Syrian government and military were collecting upward of a billion dollars a year “from those who seek to peddle their poison in the United States.”
Based on Syria’s “continued support of terrorist groups based in Lebanon,” its “repeated attempts to acquire weapons of mass destruction” and “its persistent involvement with known drug traffickers,” the report insisted that “Syria has the capacity to become as great a threat to American interests in the Middle East as Saddam Hussein’s Iraq ever was.”
It added, with a nod to the Bush administration’s invasion of Panama to oust the Noriega regime in late 1989, “The Justice Department must prosecute not only ‘corrupt, crooked and rotten cops’ from Panama, but also the unscrupulous Syrian generals who conspire to put dope on American streets.”
Such inflammatory language foreshadowed Schumer’s rhetoric about Saddam’s “weapons of mass destruction” to justify the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The charge of Syrian military complicity had at least some substance, in that some commanders undoubtedly had unclean hands. But more credible authorities than Schumer pointed out that Syria actually had limited control over the portions of Lebanon that it occupied and thus had chosen not to provoke further armed conflict by cracking down on heavily armed drug clans. In much the same way, NATO forces in Afghanistan consciously decided not to eradicate opium fields for fear of driving peasants into the arms of the Taliban.
As President Assad himself told an interviewer in 1993, “our real fear was for our soldiers, who live among the people in Lebanon where drugs have for a very long time been a source of income.” In the Beka’a Valley, he said, Syria had intervened “to solve a political problem and end the civil war,” not to “chase smugglers.” Nonetheless, he maintained, Syria was helping Lebanon to eradicate drugs, though “of course smuggling is something which continues.”
Assad’s efforts bore fruit. The State Department reported in 1996, six years after the end of the civil war, that Lebanon had worked a near miracle against drug production with Syria’s help:
“Lebanon appears to have won the fight against illicit crop cultivation to the joint Lebanese-Syrian eradication efforts since 1992. There appears to be no cultivation of opium poppy and cannabis (for hashish production) has all but disappeared. . . The joint Syrian-Lebanese effort since 1992 to eradicate the cultivation of cannabis and opium in the Beka’a Valley is a significant accomplishment which has been confirmed by a variety of sources.”
Despite tough lobbying by Israel, the Clinton administration removed Syria from the State Department’s list of major drug producers in late 1997. Chuck Schumer’s attempt to destroy bilateral relations with Syria using the drug issue had failed.
However, efforts by Israeli hardliners and U.S. neoconservatives to derail warming relations with Syria succeeded once again after George W. Bush took office. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “The US Hand in the Syrian Mess.”] We are today living with the ghastly human and economic costs of their violent efforts to “remake the map of the Middle East.”
The Iran nuclear deal offers the first clear opportunity in years to shift U.S. policy toward a more constructive and peaceful role in the region. To make that possible, the American people must repudiate the latest round of fear-mongering by Schumer and fellow hawks.
Vittorio Fera violently arrested. Photo credot – Haim Schwarczenberg
Occupied Palestine – Italian activist Vittorio Fera was violently arrested and beaten by soldiers at weekly demonstration in Nabi Saleh in occupied Palestine. The Italian activist, 31-year old Vittorio Fera, is falsely accused of throwing stones and attacking soldiers. His case will be taken to court the second time Monday 31st August between 9 and 11 am.
During a weekly demonstration in Nabi Saleh Israeli soldiers randomly arrested two protesters: one 18-year old Palestinian youth and the Italian activist Vittorio Fera. Fera went to the protest to document human rights violations by the Israeli army against Palestinians and became a victim of military violence himself.
While documenting an Israeli soldier strangling a 12-year old boy, Vittorio and the other activists were ambushed by Israeli forces. Vittorio was separated from the group and violently shoved to the ground. “We were shocked to see the boy being choked by a soldier, when suddenly soldiers came running at us and attacked Vittorio”, Josephine from Denmark explains.
Vittorio Fera with clear marks of military assault
Journalists witnessed soldiers kicking and beating him during the arrest, even though he did not resist or fight back. Vittorio, and the Palestinian youth, were forced into a military jeep where they were detained for almost nine hours by the Israeli army, before they were finally taken to a police station. Despite various demands of Fera’s lawyer to have him brought to a police station immediately, both he and the Palestinian were illegally kept in the military jeep until shortly before midnight.
Vittorio Fera with clear marks of military assault
The military accuses Vittorio Fera of throwing stones and attacking the soldiers – an unfounded accusation. A first sentencing in court late Saturday night only resulted in the postponing of the sentencing until Monday morning. The hearing will take place in in Jerusalem Monday the 31st August 2015 between 9 and 11 am.
See the video of the arrest here
A prominent industrial union in the United States has endorsed the international movement of Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) to support the Palestinians against Israel, calling on Washington to cut off financial support to Tel Aviv.
The United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America union voted in favor of a resolution entitled “Justice and Peace for the Peoples of Palestine and Israel” during its national convention on August 20, the union reported on its website.
Citing Israel’s “long history of violating the human rights of the Palestinians,” the union has become the first nationwide union to join the boycott against Israel.
Union delegate Autumn Martinez said, “It’s absolutely disgusting what is going on. Free Palestine!”
In a statement, the union attacks Israel for its human rights record “starting with the ethnic cleansing of 750,000 Palestinians in 1947-48 that turned most of Palestine into the State of Israel.”
It explained that the goal of endorsing the BDS campaign was “to pressure Israel to end its apartheid over the Palestinians just as similar tactics helped to end South African apartheid in the 1980s.”
The union also voted on a number of other foreign policy issues, including the demand to end US military intervention in the Middle East and other regions.
“We (need) to get rid of this culture of war,” said Mike Ferritto, a local delegate.
“We have done enough damage. We need to get out of the Middle East,” said another delegate, Brandon Dutton.
The resolution was part of a series of resolutions, including support for the Iran nuclear agreement. The union said it was the first US national union to endorse the movement.
The BDS campaign, which began in 2005, encourages organizations and institutions such as universities and churches to divest from Israel until the fundamental rights of the Palestinians have been recognized.
TUBAS – Israeli troops on Sunday morning evacuated 14 Palestinian families from their houses in the al-Ras al-Ahmar area of Khirbet Atuf village east of Tubas in the northern Jordan Valley area of the West Bank, local sources said.
Local sources reported that the “Israeli occupation” told the 14 families that Israeli forces will be carrying out military drills in the area for five days.
During the five days of military exercises, Palestinian residents in the area will be evacuated for six hours every day, local sources told Ma’an.
The evacuation was done under the argument that evacuating protects residents.
Earlier this year military drills in Tubas resulted in a fire that swept across some 3,000 to 4,000 dunams (750 to 1,000 acres) of Jordan Valley farmland.
The majority of the Jordan Valley is under full Israeli military control, despite being within the West Bank.The district of Tubas is one of the occupied West Bank’s most important agricultural centers.
According to the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem, more than 15,000 dunams (3,700 acres) of land in the Tubas district have been confiscated by Israel for military bases with a further 8,000 dunams (2,000 acres) seized for illegal Israeli settlements.
This is a letter from a Palestinian Christian to the news director and lead anchor of EWTN News, the news division of the Eternal Word Television Network, a Catholic broadcast network with Zionist leanings.
Dear Raymond Arroyo,
I was watching your world over segment last night on EWTN and I had some concerns. My name is Mary. I’m a conservative Catholic from Bethlehem, Palestine.
I know you didn’t think we existed – don’t worry, you’re not the only one.
Besides, Israel propaganda does a great job making sure people think Palestinians only consist of mean crazy Muslims fighting the innocent virtuous God chosen people.
I couldn’t help but notice you were one of them, which struck me as very odd considering you work for a religious channel not political, and even if you yourself had your biases it should not be portrayed on your show.
Let me clarify some things if I may, sir. I have three cousins that are priests an uncle who is a Bishop look them up Bishop William Shomali, Fr. Ibrahim Shomali and Fr. Issa Shomali.
My mother lived in Rome for ten years, she almost got ordained to become a nun.
Yes we are pretty conservative and we are proud of our faith. Growing up in occupied Palestine just made our faith even stronger.
Watching on a daily basis Israeli jeeps with huge rifles sticking out from the back of the jeep threatening to shoot us at any moment just because we happened to live on the wrong side of town.
On the way to my St Joseph all-girls Catholic school I saw them making dirty comments, staring me in the face, mocking me.
I saw them shoot little children because they threw rocks at them, and sometimes for absolutely no reason.
In my peaceful town of Beit Sahour, mostly Christians, the first boy to get killed by Israelis was 16 years old.
He was walking home from the store when Israeli soldiers dropped a huge rock on his head from the top of a building and watched him crawl home bleeding until he died at the front steps of his home. He was Christian, he did nothing to them.
Yet you don’t feel any sympathy for him. The second boy was at home in the kitchen watching his mom making fries.
An Israeli settler — you know, those guys who built a home illegally on Palestinian land and are armed — shot him through the window and killed him in front of his mom.
His name was Salam, it means peace. He was a Christian, not involved in anything. Yet you wouldn’t feel any sympathy for him because he’s not Jewish.
I can go on and on and on about how Israel was created, the wars literally kicking people out of their homes and moving in them, the massacres.
The times when they would put the whole town on house arrest, which means we can’t leave the home or look out the window. It would take weeks sometimes.
We are Christians and yet you wouldn’t feel any sympathy for us. When they would set us free they would shout in the microphone in their jeeps “home arrest is off you dogs and cows and donkeys”. And yet it’s all justified.
One time a Christian nurse from my home town took home a young boy who was wounded by Israeli soldiers. He was involved in a protest against occupation and must have thrown a rock at one of the jeeps (oh the horror!)
The soldiers went to her home, and arrested and imprisoned her for years for treating a wounded boy; how dare she!!
And when the town had many protests to free her they released her to Jordan and she was never allowed back to her home. And yet we are the terrorists and you have no sympathy for us.
My ancestors come from that land back in the days when people lived in caves even.
What if we are the original Christians that followed Jesus 2000 years ago — wouldn’t we have the same right to live there in dignity and yet we have none.
And you don’t care. We will continue to carry the cross proudly on our shoulder and suffer, we will continue to pray for our enemy and for peace.
We will not hate, we will only tell the truth. This is what our Bible teaches; you should try doing the same. Peace be with you my friend.
Love, Mary Alshomaly from the Holy Land of Jesus
Occupied Palestine – On Friday the 28th of August 2015, two peaceful demonstrators were violently arrested and a child viciously attacked by Israeli soldiers in the Palestinian village Nabi Saleh in occupied Palestine. Every Friday the people of Nabi Saleh protest against the illegal settlement build on the villages’ land.
Israeli soldier threatening Palestinian women and children at non violent demonstration in Nabi Saleh. Photo credit: Karam
Today at around 3 pm one Palestinian male, Mahmoud Tamimi, and one international activist were arrested in the Palestinian village Nabi Saleh close to Ramallah. They were arrested during a Friday demonstration against the illegal settlements on the land belonging to the people of Nabi Saleh.
Only a few minutes after the protesters peacefully started their march towards the gate, which is regularly blocked by the military preventing any movement in- or outside of the village, the Israeli army began attacking the non-violent protesters with dozens of rounds of tear gas.
The soldiers then ambushed the demonstrators escaping the clouds of tear gas by surrounding them. They attacked and then arrested Mahmoud Tamimi, shoving him down the hill towards the illegal settlement, where he was forced to lie on the ground.
Israeli soldier strangling a Palestinian boy at non violent demonstration in Nabi Saleh. Photo credit: Karam
Around the same time, a Palestinian boy was violently attacked by a soldier throwing him to the ground, choking and almost suffocating him in the process. “While the boy was screaming in pain his family came to rescue him from the soldiers’ vicious assault”, Josephine, a Danish activist explains.
Israeli soldier attacking Palestinian boy at non violent demonstration in Nabi Saleh. Photo credit: Karam
A group of peaceful international demonstrators trying to document the attack on the boy, was ambushed by another group of soldiers, who violently pushed a 31-year old Italian man to the ground and proceeded to arrested him.
Both the Palestinian and the international were being held captive in a military jeep by the Israeli army for almost nine hours, before being brought to a police station.
NEGEV – Dozens of Palestinians protested Thursday in the Bedouin village of Umm al-Hiran near the town of Hura in the Negev, as Israel’s construction of a Jewish town on the village’s land continues, local sources said.
The Umm al-Hiran community — around 700 strong — is unrecognized by the Israeli government and residents’ lands were claimed by the state in 2013 in order to make way for the expansion of the Beersheba metropolitan area.
As a march set off from the village and moved towards the site of construction, protesters said they were able to force Israeli police to remove the bulldozers from the area.
Leaders and members of national and Islamic parties, Palestinian members of the Knesset, members of committees for Palestinians in the Negev, and Jewish-Israelis took part in the march.
Sources told Ma’an that the contractor responsible for razing the village is a Palestinian citizen of Israel from the Negev, and locals have condemned the use of Palestinian contractors against their people by the Israeli authorities.
Participants of Thursday’s demonstration called for launching an international media campaign in support of Umm al-Hiran and other villages threatened with land confiscation in order to pressure Israeli authorities to stop longstanding policies to displace Palestinian Bedouins.
Umm al-Hiran residents are a fraction of the thousands of Bedouins living in villages that the Israeli government does not recognize and are at risk of displacement in the Negev due to Israeli policies that critics argue amount to ethnic cleansing.
The community’s residents appealed their displacement in court earlier this year on the grounds that the Israeli military administration ordered the community to be moved to the area in 1956, but the appeal was rejected.
On Sunday, Israeli excavators began work on infrastructure for the Jewish-only town in Umm al-Hiran, building a new road under heavy protection of Israeli forces, locals told Ma’an at the time.
Knesset Member Talab Abu Arar described the Israeli move as racist.
“Racism has become crystal clear in Umm al-Hiran as a Jewish settlement Hiran is being built on the ruins of the Arab Umm al-Hiran village,” Abu Arar told Ma’an on Sunday.
He added that Israeli courts and authorities ignored the rights of Palestinians and worked towards confining them to a few recognized towns and denying their rights.
JERUSALEM – Israeli authorities have renewed the administrative detention of 85 percent of Palestinians detainees held under the policy, a prisoner rights group said Friday.
The Prisoners’ Center for Studies said that at least 75 of the 480 Palestinians held under the detention without trial policy have had their sentences — which range from two to six months — renewed four times in a row.
The detention of 135 detainees has been renewed three times in a row while 190 Palestinians have had their sentences renewed twice, the center added.
Israeli military courts have issued 726 administrative detention orders in 2015 alone, including first time sentences and renewals, the group said, over 340 of which were issued to Palestinians from the Hebron district in the occupied West Bank.
Riyad al-Ashqar, a spokesperson of the Prisoners’ Center for Studies, said Israel is keeping Palestinians as political hostages through the policy of administrative detention.
Most detainees held under the policy, which dates back to the British Mandate, are held on secret evidence and are not aware of the reason for their detention, which can be renewed indefinitely in six-month periods.
In 2012, over 2,000 Palestinian prisoners went on hunger strike to protest administrative detention, one of the only means available to Palestinians to challenge the policy.
Last week, Palestinian detainee Muhammad Allan ended a two-month hunger strike which he began to protest his detention without trial. An Israeli court ruled to lift his administrative detention due to his deteriorating health.
While administrative detention is legal under international law in exceptional circumstances, the international community and rights organizations have condemned excessive use of the practice by Israel.
By the worst means, the worst. For mine own good,
All causes shall give way: I am in blood
Stepped in so far, that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o’er.
Jeremy Corbyn is a longtime British Labour MP, hitherto little known outside Britain. Following the resignation of Labour leader Ed Miliband, Corbyn is one of four MPs nominated in the leadership contest, currently subject to ballot amongst Party members and supporters until 10 September.
Corbyn has been subject to a tsunami of criticism and abuse since his nomination, providing abundant evidence on the odious character of the current British political establishment and on the farce that is curiously labeled the democratic process.
Moreover, Corbyn, supporter of the Palestinian cause, has experienced full guns blazing from official British Jewry. On 12 August, the Jewish Chronicle broadsided with ‘The key questions that Jeremy Corbyn must answer’. With the emphasis on ‘must’.
Soon after, Jewish Labour MP Ivan Lewis becomes ‘the first senior Labour politician to attack Corbyn’s credentials on anti-Semitism’. And there will be more to come. How could anyone who finds Israel’s actions unacceptable imagine that they had the right to become leader of a major British political Party?
* * *
The treatment of Corbyn by the British Zionist mafia is not novel but redolent of the behavior of the British Zionist machine since its inception. Some insight into this machine can be had from a forgotten book, which a correspondent has alerted me to. The book is Publish It Not: The Middle East Cover-Up, written by Michael Adams and Christopher Mayhew, published in 1975 (Longman).
Adams (died 2005) was a journalist, Mayhew (died 1997) a Labour MP (later a Liberal) and broadcaster. Both came to be critics of Israel from a position of innocence, product of firsthand experience in their professional capacities. The hostility that they and other critics of Israel experienced on British soil led them to write the book.
The authors draw comfort from Nahum Goldmann, then President of the World Jewish Congress, reported (Jewish Chronicle, 7 June 1974) as claiming:
“… by blindly supporting the mistaken course of Israeli policy and by telling the Israelis only what they wanted to hear, Diaspora Jews had done Israel a disservice.”
Ill-informed (Adams was teaching in cut-off Finland in the late 1940s) and inexperienced, Adams found himself hired as Middle East correspondent for the Manchester Guardian in 1956. He was to remain employed until 1962, but continued to be published there until 1968. With respect to Israel:
“What I saw, in brief, was the fact of injustice; of an injustice which, it seemed, had been knowingly committed and was still being deliberately prolonged; an injustice – worst shock of all – which could be directly traced to a decision taken by a British government. I am speaking, of course, of the injustice done to the Palestinians …”
Adams notes that he could have accepted the past as spilt milk, but for two factors.
“The first of these was the realisation that the world’s ignorance of what had happened and was still happening in Palestine was not accidental: that there were plenty of people about whose primary concern it was to distort and suppress the truth about Palestine without bothering their heads with any concerns about freedom of speech. And the second factor … was the Suez crisis, which it became my duty to observe and report for The Manchester Guardian. It was a decisive experience.”
Then came the Israeli takeover of what was to become the ‘occupied territories’ following the Six Day War of June 1967. For Adams:
“There was a kind of Watergate in action … to protect those who made it their business to defend Israel and to subject to an insidious form of discrimination those who sought to expose the true aims of Israeli policy. Such non-conformists were subtly made aware that their jobs might be at risk, their books unpublishable, their preferment out of the question, their pubic reputations vulnerable, if they did not renounce the heresy of anti-Zionism. And for the most part, the merest flourish of such secret weapons was enough to reduce them to silence.”
The handful of dissenters learned that:
“… the imbalance of public opinion, in this deeply contentious area of foreign politics, was deliberately contrived and painstakingly maintained; and that those who were intent on maintaining it were not above resorting to some very dirty tricks against those who tried, as we were trying, to disturb it. I was to learn this lesson myself the hard way …”
In 1967, Adams, Mayhew and others formed the Council for the Advancement of Arab-British Understanding and the Labour Middle East Council. CAABU membership comprised well-credentialled professionals with Middle Eastern experience, but it was derided as an Arab propaganda front. The Labour Middle East Council was denied affiliation with the Labour Party. Mayhew notes:
“… we were startled by the vehemence with which … we were attacked and exposed to insult, and by the extraordinary anonymous letters which we became accustomed to receiving. In some respects these attacks were so bitter and unrestrained as to appear pathological.”
Christopher Mayhew’s first personal brush with Zionism was upon receipt of a letter dated 5 December 1946:
“We are determined this time to squash you British sons of a bitch and we declare war to the finish against the British. For every Jew you stinking British pigs kill in Palestine you will pay a thousandfold in fetid English blood. The [Lahome Herut Israel] has passed sentence of death on the British pig Mayhew. The execution will soon take place by silent and new means.”
At that time, letter bombs were received by several people. One such package was sent to an avowed anti-Zionist Roy Farran, which killed his brother.
Mayhew’s first professional exposure was as Undersecretary for Labour Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin. The Commons, 11 July 1948. It is 8 a.m., after an all night sitting. Mayhew is alone on the Government front bench. The Commons is empty. Save for:
“… behind me, wide awake, well-informed, passionate, articulate and aggressive, would be a group of twenty or thirty pro-Israeli Labour members. Most of them would be Jewish … and also Israel’s most brilliant non-Jewish supporter, Dick Crossman.”
At this ridiculous time, a debate on the recognition of Israel was initiated by a young Labour backbencher. Mayhew replied:
“Has my Honourable Friend ever heard that there is an Arab point of view? … The trouble with my Honourable Friend, as the whole of his speech shows, is that he is not sufficiently in touch with the Arab point of view on the Palestine problem.”
And thus it would be for Mayhew’s entire time in the Commons, harangued, abused, then marginalized. But the early target was Bevin himself, labelled successfully as an anti-Semite. Mayhew again:
“I remember clearly [Bevin’s] dislike of Zionist methods and tactics, and, indeed, of the Zionist philosophy itself. He was passionately and unshakably anti-Zionist. He held that Zionism was basically racialist, that it was inevitably wedded to violence and terror, that it demanded far more from the Arabs than they could or should be expected to accept peacefully, that its success would condemn the Middle East to decades of hatred and violence, and above all … that by turning the Arabs against Britain and the Western countries, it would open a highroad for Stalin into the Middle East. On all these points events proved him right …
“In 1947 and 1948 it was the political pressure on the Labour Cabinet from American Zionists, exerted through the United States government, which angered Bevin the most …. At that time, Britain was dependent on American goodwill for her economic survival [and Truman equally dependent on Zionist goodwill for his campaign funds]. As a consequence, the British government was subject to ruthless pressure from Washington to get the Arabs to accept the Zionists’ demands. It was a disgraceful abuse of power.”
By chance, Mayhew had to meet the US Ambassador, Lou Douglas, by himself. Douglas wanted British assent to admitting a hundred thousand Jewish refugees into Palestine immediately. Mayhew reiterated the government’s position – it was a prescription for war. Douglas then claimed that the President wanted it known that agreement on the intake would help him get the Marshall Aid appropriation through Congress.
“In other words, we must do as the Zionists wished – or starve. Bevin surrendered – he had to – but he was understandably bitter and angry. He felt it outrageous that the United States, which had no responsibility for law and order in Palestine (and no intention of permitting massive Jewish immigration into the United States), should, from very questionable motives, impose an impossibly burdensome and dangerous task on Britain.”
Mayhew’s first visit to the Middle East was in 1953 – as member of a Parliamentary delegation he went to a Palestinian refugee camp in Jordan. There he saw ‘… the refugee camps not merely as relics of a past war, but as seedbeds of future vengeance’.
Other priorities intervened, but in 1963 Mayhew was a member of an official Labour Party delegation which toured Middle Eastern countries. On that tour, the delegation met then Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir and other Israeli leaders. He was disgusted by Meir’s mocking and patronizing attitude towards the Palestinians.
“I remembered now where I had heard it before: at parties given by British settlers in Kenya and Tanganyika before those countries gained their independence. It was the tone in which it would be explained to visitors like myself that the African was scatterbrained but essentially a ‘good chap’, loyal (meaning loyal to his white masters) but easily led astray by trouble makers (meaning those of his fellow-Africans who aspired to self-rule).”
Thus did Mayhew develop a commitment to the Palestinian cause. But Mayhew’s answering back to the Israelis had immediate consequences. When Harold Wilson, a zealous Zionist, formed a government the next year in 1964, Mayhew was excluded from the Cabinet after the lobbying against him.
* * *
“The secret of the Zionists’ success has lain in the existence of a large, lively and influential Jewish community in Britain. [In the context of deliberations regarding the Balfour Declaration in 1917, s]upporters of Zionism, whether Jewish or non-Jewish … if they were not in positions of power themselves, they usually had easy access to those who were.”
Mayhew drew on Doreen Ingrams’ Palestine Papers 1917-1922, which highlights that the first drafts of the Balfour Declaration were written under the direction of Zionists (Lord Rothschild and Chaim Weizmann) on Balfour’s invitation. Weizmann had ready access to Balfour. Thus Weizmann to Balfour, 30 May 1918 (from Ingrams):
“The Arabs, who are superficially clever and quick-witted, worship one thing, and one thing only – power and success … The British authorities … knowing as they do the treacherous nature of the Arab, they have to watch carefully and constantly that nothing should happen which might give the Arabs the slightest grievance or ground of complaint. In other words, the Arabs have to be ‘nursed’ lest they should stab the army in the back. … So the English are ‘run’ by the Arabs.”
After the Balfour Declaration’s publication, the government established a special branch for Jewish propaganda in the Foreign office under a Zionist, Albert Hyamson, and a Zionist commission (led by Weizmann) was dispatched to Palestine to facilitate the Zionist agenda.
Mayhew notes the instructiveness of the diaries of Mrs Blanche Dugdale (Balfour’s niece), on ‘the intimacy of the Zionist lobby’s contracts with the Cabinet’, citing a September 1936 entry (p.32). Mayhew concludes:
“What is extraordinary about this extract – and many others in Mrs Dugdale’s revealing diaries – is that she is describing without apology (quite the contrary) a pattern of behaviour which would normally be considered scandalous, if not positively treasonable. A member of the British government was communicating Cabinet secrets to a private individual acting on behalf of a group of foreign nationals [etc] …”
Mayhew notes that the capture of the British Labour Party, even by comparison with the Liberals and Conservatives, has been a remarkable phenomenon.
“By tradition and principle the party was strongly opposed to territorial expansion, colonialism, racialism and military government; yet the Zionist lobby succeeded in committing it to a uniquely close friendship with a foreign government which [failed all these criteria].”
The Labour Party ‘welcomed Zionists most warmly to its ranks and gave the most consistent support to their aims’. Soon after Labour was elected in August 1929, riots broke out in Palestine, driven by the scale and character of Jewish immigration. A subsequent White Paper noted that Britain’s support for Jewish immigration was not formally unconditional. The lobby forced a retreat from Prime Minister MacDonald, following which Jewish immigration into Palestine escalated dramatically.
“In the 1930s and ‘40s the Zionists consolidated their grip on the Labour Party and came completely to control its policy on the Middle East.”
The Party’s National Executive Committee’s 1944 report proposed ‘Let the Arabs be encouraged to move out, as the Jews move in’, and that Jewish migration prospects might be enhanced by ‘extending the present Palestinian boundaries by agreement with Egypt, Syria or Transjordan’. Mayhew notes that the Labour Party thus ‘took on itself the role of a kind of Zionist fifth column’.
Then to the Attlee government. Professor Harold Laski, ardent Zionist, was chairman of the Party’s National Executive Committee during 1945-46, declaring that he was attempting to organize ‘an internal opposition to fight the Attlee-Bevin betrayal of the Jews’. Add the (much cited) Crossman-Strachey incident. Mayhew reproduces the fragment in Hugh Thomas’ biography of John Strachey. Strachey, Under-Secretary of State for Air and member of the government’s Defence Committee, gave Crossman tacit approval for the Haganah to engage in sabotage. Thus did Haganah blow up the bridges over the Jordan (June 1946?), cutting off the British army from its supply lines. As Mayhew notes:
“Such behaviour by supposedly responsible members of the Labour Party and Government would be inconceivable in any context other than that of Zionism.”
Mayhew neglects to add Thomas’ postscript:
“A few days later, the Foreign Office broke the Jewish Agency code. Crossman was for several days alarmed lest he and Strachey might be discovered.”
And on to the Wilson government, the Prime Minister’s contribution to the Zionist cause being unstinting. On 8 December 1972, the UN General Assembly re-affirmed the UN’s November 1967 Resolution 242 (demanding Israeli withdrawal from the Occupied Territories, respect of Palestinian rights, etc). Wilson, in Israel over Christmas, in turn reaffirmed his carte blanche support for Israel’s freedom of action.
As a Jewish newspaper reported on the 29th: ‘Tidings of comfort and joy were brought to Israel’s political leaders this week by Harold Wilson’. Mayhew’s contrary response was:
“Today it is widely recognised that the policies to whose support Mr Wilson committed himself and the British Labour Party were gravely mistaken and that they were the principal cause of the fresh outbreak of war in the Middle East in October 1973.”
The fiftieth anniversary of the affiliation of the organization Paole Zion to the Labour Party was held in September 1970. After the 1920 affiliation, Mayhew notes, ‘a steady stream of pro-Zionist questions began’, involving fraudulent propaganda that ‘greatly influenced generations of credulous Labour Party members’.
The 1970 dinner was presided over by the acting chairman of the Party, the Zionist Ian Mikardo. Mikardo attacked Ernest Bevin (an anti-Zionist and anti-Semite), the British Diplomatic Service, and the Arabs. Said Mikardo, Foreign Office officials were ‘public school boys who share with the Arabs a common tendency towards homosexuality, romanticism and enthusiasm for horses’.
Mayhew claims that the dinner probably marks the zenith of the Zionist influence. Yet the general account of Adams and Mayhew up to the time of the book’s publication highlights that nothing had changed within the Labour Party. Dissenters within the ranks were perennially howled down and abused by the Zionist chorus.
* * *
Adams and Mayhew note that the British media bore a heavy responsibility, through its partisanry and its silences, for the public’s impoverished understanding of the Middle East. Most British media Middle East correspondents were Jewish, and some outlets lazily employed Jewish Israeli residents who doubled as ‘reporters’.
In early 1968 Adams, in visiting the Middle East on invitation by the BBC, arranged with the Guardian that he would write some articles on the state of affairs in the occupied territories – then little known in Britain. Adams was appalled by what he found.
The Guardian published the initial articles, but its editor baulked at the last. It referred to the destruction of three villages (Imwas, Yalu and Beit Nuba) not far from Jerusalem, after the access road from Ramallah was cut, the rubble carted away and the remains ploughed over. Adams confirmed the details with the Israeli military. Not least because none of the rest of the media’s patsies had reported on the affair, the Guardian’s editor found Adams’ account unpalatable. That was the end of Adams’ 12-year relationship with the Guardian.
Some outlets were worse than others. The New Statesman was notable in its partisanry under ‘a succession of vehemently pro-Israeli editors (Kingsley Martin, Paul Johnson, Richard Crossman)’, until 1972; and The Economist under Alastair Burnet. Johnson was subsequently appointed by Harold Wilson to be a member of the 1974 Royal Commission on the Press.
The most influential of the ‘gentile Zionists’ in the early days was the Manchester Guardian. On Adams’ first visit to Jerusalem in 1956 he was surprised to have a distinguished Palestinian refer to his employer as ‘Ah, the Zionist paper’. Adams then discovered that C. P. Scott had ‘launched’ Chaim Weizmann into British political society, introducing Weizmann to Lloyd George and putting ‘the authority of The Manchester Guardian at the disposal of the cause of Zionism’. No doubt Jonathan Freedland, keeping the acrid flame alive, has a photo of Scott on his desk.
The BBC (both television and radio) was consistently partisan through these years. According to Mayhew, the pro-Israel bias was for the most part inbuilt and unconscious. Although management would perennially consciously cave in under pressure from the lobby.
To the media’s bias, the authors add disgust at the silence of the British churches on Israeli abuses, not least because they had representatives on the ground in Jerusalem. The authors lament, in particular, the long silence of the Church of England on the issue.
“The years of acquiescence in the Israeli fait accompli had cost the church any moral standing it might have had in the matter …”
* * *
Adams and Mayhew started Publish It Not in 1974. The text is written in hindsight following the October 1973 war. They note the relative military strength of the combatant Arab states, ‘surprising’, given the seeming invincibility of the Israeli military apparatus. They also note the atypical unity of the Arab states (with Saudi Arabia a late adherent), embodied in the oil embargo and price hike. The western media belatedly started to report Arab opinion.
From this environment the authors conclude:
“Israel’s capacity to survive without making far-reaching concessions, concessions which would severely modify the nature and potential of the Jewish state, seems very doubtful. So far, Israel has established herself, and expanded her territories, on the basis of her dominant military power. But since October 1973 the balance of power has shifted significantly against Israel and the shift seems likely to continue in the same direction.”
What a dramatically flawed prognosis! Still, they weren’t alone. They cite a contemporary, longtime journalist at The Times, (Jewish) David Spanier, 15 January 1974:
“All of a sudden it seems blindingly clear, not to all, but to many, who had somehow looked the other way, that the permanent relegation of large numbers of people as second-class citizens will bring the Zionist mission to an end and may threaten the state itself. According to some religious thinkers, far from the political arena, a policy based on occupation will ultimately corrupt the essential value of Judaism itself.”
And the aftermath? Some time ago, I unearthed a cache of Guardian Weeklys stretching over the years. Product of a hoarding mentality, their existence product of a pre-internet compulsory subscription by an antipodean colonial seeking non-provincial media exposure.
For example, late 2003, with respect to Israel. Well what do you know? Some representative headlines.
‘100,000 [Israelis remembering Yitzhak Rabin] gathered last weekend under banners denouncing occupation and demanding peace
‘A European Commission opinion poll that claims 60% of Europeans see Israel as the greatest threat to world peace has drawn outraged denunciations of anti-semitism
‘Israeli planes kill 10 people in wave of attacks on Gaza
‘The Israeli military has ordered thousands of Palestinians living near the steel and concrete ‘security fence’ that cuts through the West Bank to obtain special permits to live in their own homes
‘Rafah braced for more misery: Eight Palestinians dead and 1,500 homeless – but Israeli raids go on
‘Iran threat must be eliminated – US hawk
‘3,000 dead – yet peace remains elusive; three years of intifada
‘Bitter harvest in West Bank’s olive groves: Jewish settlers destroy fruit of centuries of toil to force out Palestinian villagers
‘Deep anxiety unsettles the Jewish community in France
Add countless letters to the Editor fueled by passion and disgust, emanating from both anti-Zionist and Zionist camps. You couldn’t make it up. Plus ça change!
That interpretative failure of Adams and Mayhew provides a significant lesson. One is forced to ask – why did their prediction so dramatically miss the trend of ensuing decades? Literally, many things have changed. But plus c’est la même chose. The more things have stayed the same. The dialectical evolution of thrust and counter thrust that produced a form of status quo has been inadequately documented and analyzed.
In culminating with the status quo, there has been non-stop turbulence. What? We have witnessed the annexation of the Golan, two invasions of Lebanon, the repression of two intifadas, the creeping appropriations of East Jerusalem and the West Bank, the perennial ravaging of Gaza, the perennial murder of Palestinians and long term incarceration of Palestinians, the wilful repulsion of Gaza-bound maritime traffic, etc. The entrenchment of an apartheid state.
Israel has never fulfilled the conditions on which it was admitted into UN membership; it has ignored myriad UN resolutions, it has attacked UN infrastructure and personnel, and has just sent a racist extremist to the UN as ambassador. Israel retains privileged access to the crucial markets of the European Union. And, of course, this state with the reputed strength of Solomon sucks voraciously on the American taxpayer teat.
Israel continues to operate with complete impunity for its crimes.
* * *
Serendipitously, a second edition of Publish It Not was published in 2006 (Signal Books). It is a desirable read, both for the insight, courage, commitment yet sobriety of the prose of Michael Adams and Christopher Mayhew, but also for the latter day complements. Jeremy Corbyn might profitably read it (for his sanity), if he has not already done so. The 2006 edition has three additions.
“It was only when I read Publish It Not … that I learned just how pervasive Zionist control of our media was and recognized the extent and effectiveness of its indoctrinating power. That was the moment that I changed my allegiance in this cause. It was the simple response of a man who awakened to the fact that he had been lied to.”
The Times Literary Supplement commissioned Tucker’s review, and the copy editor approved it. But the TLS editor pulled the plug (‘He doesn’t feel that the review is right for [us]’), instead publishing a dishonest Zionist review of the books. Exhibit A for the Adams/Mayhew narrative.
Two. There is an extended ‘testimony’ by Marion Woolfson of her experience as an honest reporter of Middle Eastern affairs. Woolfson’s experience is mentioned briefly by Mayhew in the 1975 text. But Woolfson’s account is harrowing.
Jewish, Woolfson moves to London following her husband’s death and visits her in-laws. She was informed over dinner that then Labour MP Christopher Mayhew was ‘evil, murderous, a Nazi and a terrible Jew-hater’. It was all downhill from then on.
Her media reports and letters lead to her being subject to (literally) non-stop harassment, brutalization, physical attacks. Endless letters and telephone calls calling her ‘a treacherous lying bitch’, receiving money from or sleeping with ‘filthy Arabs’, etc. She changes her number, made silent, but that number is readily made available to the harassers (!). The nature of the beast (in lieu of a local chapter of the vicious Jewish Defense League) deserves reproduction:
“Each evening … salesmen from a number of double-glazing firms would call and then throughout the night there would be a procession of taxis ‘to take me to the airport’. … Then lorries began arriving from early morning, laden with cement mixers, sand or gravel so that the narrow mews in which I lived was totally jammed and the lorry drivers … would be cursing. … Eventually I had to move out of my house until the harassment stopped. Not long after my return, I found a large swastika painted on my front gate. …
“Then, a huge rock was thrown through my large, plate-glass dining-room window with such force that it broke the wall opposite. … (There was a similar incident last year when the missile crashed through my bedroom window, at my present home, at 2 a.m. I tell myself that this was merely the action of a local hooligan.) Soon afterwards, a man called at my house. … A few days later … a man, who … had what looked like a metal cosh in his hand hit me on the forehead … [etc.]”
She is shut out of the media, prevented from plying her profession. She is ex-communicated from the bulk of the Jewish community. At least she should take heart from the experience of the valiant Spinoza.
Three. There is an extended foreword by longtime BBC journalist Tim Llewellyn. It is addressed specifically to the mis-judgment of Adams and Mayhew.
Llewellyn notes the changes. The Labour MP Zionist bully boys have gone. The public is far better informed, courtesy of considerable critical scholarly literature and daily internet exposés. The lies have been exposed as lies. The media acquired slightly more balance.
But the Parliamentary bully boys have been replaced by the trans-party ‘Friends of Israel’ cabals. Thus, for example, in September 2011, the Tory-Liberal Government moved to facilitate ready access of Israeli war criminals to British soil. And the public, no matter how better-informed, is ignored (witness the zero impact of the anti-Iraq invasion demonstrations). Since 2000, the BBC has backtracked, following 9/11, the second intifada, and Blair Labour’s relentless pressure for conformity. Add the organically pro-Israel Murdoch media (including The Times since 1981) and the Daily Telegraph.
More, the Zionist lobby is now better resourced, as powerful as ever. So-called representative national Jewish organizations, as in other countries, are first and foremost, pro-Israel lobby groups (have I missed a low-lying exception?). Claims Llewellyn:
“Since 1975, when the authors went into print, the official and institutional ranks of the Zionists in Britain have mounted and continue to mount campaigns of disinformation that dwarf their efforts of thirty and forty years ago. … the work goes on … not just in selling the Israeli package to the ordinary British people but also in changing the nature of British Jews’ perception of themselves and their relationship to Israel. Or, to put it another way, Israel’s alleged centrality to the life of a British Jew.”
As above, David Spanier was concerned that ‘a policy based on occupation will ultimately corrupt the essential value of Judaism itself’. Quite. The culturally unifying role of Judaism, in many families reduced to the conventionalized ritual of the Judaic calendar, has been displaced by the culturally unifying role of Israel. If less spiritual, a decidedly more muscular apparatus to be proud of (save for the hostility to this ersatz substitution by some Orthodox communities). And this even given that the majority of Jewry would never contemplate living there.
But the more does Israel perpetrate unsavory actions, the more does Israel need an effective propaganda machine. Llewelyn again, noting that the Americans arrived after 2000 to advise the British Israel Communications and Research Centre:
“The message was clear: be aggressive; pester and menace the media and the politicians in all their forms; go to court; never let up; let no adverse image or mention of Israel go unchallenged, however true, however perceived. In a word, the only story is our story: make sure everyone knows that.
“If Adams and Mayhew had been appalled at the Zionist intrusions they suffered in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, they would have been paralysed by the sheer aggression of the Zionist movement here, especially concerning the media after 2000 and the success it achieved with its tactics …”
Thus the Zionist messiah, political version, is now made flesh. But in its nurturing of human nature at its worst, it requires a most unholy propaganda and lobbying edifice to keep its yet incomplete pursuit of purity of spirit on track. The exercise, with its inevitable criminality, is fundamentally dependent upon the ‘dual loyalty’ (singular?) of the so-called Diaspora. And woe to the ‘self-hating’ Jews who dissent from the rule, saying ‘not in my name’.
In short, tribalism trumps reason, humanity and moral integrity. Can the evidence allow any other inference? Reason, humanity and moral integrity aside, what a brilliant success story.
* * *
Of the propaganda armory, the very rusty ‘anti-Semitism’ sword is still being brandished, and still to good effect. Here is Adams and Mayhew on the long silence of the churches:
“Nor was the situation any better in other western countries: the damaging accusation of anti-Semitism was held like a sword over the head of anyone rash enough to criticise Israel, from a moral or a spiritual standpoint, as from a political one.”
And Llewellyn on the BBC as highly-exposed public broadcaster:
“In institutional broadcasting there is a climate of fear. Executives do not like to be accused of anti-Semitism, which is the ready-to-hand smear the Zionists and their friends have available if they think Israel is receiving a bad press.”
It’s staggering to think that this canard still carries leverage, not least because it shits on the substantive anti-Semitism that has been central to the Jewish experience for centuries.
Thus the pro-Palestinian Jeremy Corbyn is naturally a target of this trusty weapon. Frankly, I don’t like his chances. If he manages to transcend the slur and its baggage, it will be a new day.
On the subject of this crime by Zionism against Jewry itself, one is perennially drawn to the stance of the philosopher Michael Neumann, outlined in Cockburn and St. Clair’s 2003 The Politics of Anti-Semitism. Neumann notes that definitional inflation cheapens the currency. (One might add that, as in Gresham’s Law in economics, ‘bad money drives out good’.)
With respect to the growth of Arab anti-Semitism, Neumann notes:
“… its chief cause is not anti-Semitic propaganda but the decades’ old (sic), systematic and unrelenting efforts of Israel to implicate all Jews in its crimes.”
Is opposition to the settlements (the Jews’ claimed historic right to Eretz Israel?) anti-Semitic? Claims Neumann:
“… since we are obliged to oppose the settlements, we are obliged to be anti-Semitic. Through definitional inflation, some form of anti-Semitism becomes morally obligatory.
“… anti-Zionism is a moral obligation, so, if anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism, anti-Semitism is a moral obligation.”
The Zionist armory, if one can be excused a mixed metaphor, has no clothes. It is long overdue that Zionism and its incarnation in the state of Israel be subject to the supposedly universal standards of reason, humanity and moral integrity.