Subject: ON DIFFERENCES AND DISTINCTIONS,
OPPOSITIONS AND CONTRADICTIONS, AND ON A PARADOX MADE IN THE USA.
- Bulletin N° 284
9 January 2007
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
You've probably all heard the joke that begins: Where does a 500-pound
gorilla sit? The answer is: Anywhere it damn well pleases. This analogy
I offer as an approximate description of our contemporary social context, which is
the ultimate origin of all constraints today.
The U. S. military, in alliance with such states as Great Britain,
Saudi Arabia, and Israel, is being deployed to secure limited reserves of natural resources on
our planet. It is presently focusing on fossil fuel resources in
the Middle East. To mobilize populations to fight and to die for U.S.
control of the world's natural resources, a political ploy is required.
The time-tested politics of fear
is once again useful and is
being orchestrated by Washington D.C. to manufacture another "Catch
22": a paradox threatening to trap another generation of Americans in
the madness of choosing between risking their lives and well-being in
battle or trying to prove their insanity by refusing to risk their
lives, a rational act which disqualifies them from exiting the mindless
violence of imperial conquest.
In this context the massive mobilization now underway of resistance to
the fossil-fuel wars is a metacommunication, providing negative
commentary on the affirmation of perceived dangers --real, imaginary
and symbolic-- which have been used to justify the real killings and
mutilations of tens of thousands of people, who were seeking protection
at all costs. Protest movements --in defense of Palestinians, and
against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in anticipation of the
expansion of the fossil-fuel wars into Iran and perhaps eventually into
Venezuela-- have emerged throughout the United States and across
Europe. A counter-culture seems to be in the making.
Meanwhile the 500-pound gorilla is at our window, at the foot of our
bed, between our sheets, and now inside our head. Normal animal
behavior simply would be to avoid him, and if you cannot avoid him
entirely, to try not to attract his attention, but if he is on the hunt
with an army of chimpanzees, and if it is you that they are hunting,
then a confrontation is in the making, and you need help. . . .
Many of the victims of these fossil-fuel wars have no analysis of what
is happening to them. Their minds have been colonized, and like their
masters they have been "dumbed down" by the numbing effect of
relentless disinformation campaigns in the mass media. "Know your
enemy." was a first principle of Sun Tzu, 2500 years ago. Without this
understanding, you will be divided and you will be defeated. For
example, the historic Differences
between the Semitic
peoples of North Africa and the Middle East (the Sunni, the Shia Muslims
; the Ashkenazim, the Sephardic Jews
evolved into important Distinctions
communication theory as "a difference which makes a difference") and
, in turn, have been forced into imaginary Oppositions
(implying conflict), which in reality they are not.
For example, the statement "All children go to school" describes an
(not implying conflict).
the statement "Some children walk to school, and some do not walk to
school," describes a (digital) distinction
(which does not
imply conflict). In common ideology, distinctions
collapsed into imaginary oppositions
, of a nature
similar to that which is captured in the question: "Does your child
walk to school, or does she take her lunch?" According to Anthony
Wilden in his book, Man
and Woman, War and Peace: The Strategist's Companion
York: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1987), real oppositions
necessarily of the same logical type, interacting through the presence
of a neutral border, such as exists between the positive and negative
hemispheres of a magnet, or like the middle point between the two
extremes of a child's see-saw, where is located the possibility of a
reciprocal neutralization of all actions. (Wilden, 26) By collapsing
the difference between distinction
conflict seems to be inevitable. "Two things can only be differentiated
from each other," wrote the linguist N. Troubetzkoy, who was influenced
by the philosophy of Hegel and who in turn greatly influenced Claude
in so far as they are opposed
to each other, i.e. in so far as there exists a relation of opposition
In complete contrast to Hegel, Troubetzkoy, and Lévi-Strauss,
the linguist and philosopher C.K. Ogden wrote that,
The sole source of all
opposition is the possibility of a reciprocal neutralization of like
, according to this view, are equivalent, symmetrical,
and must have a common measure. They represent a balance, whereas Contradiction
involves two or more levels of a hierarchy. Social contradictions
involve levels of relation, and logical contradictions involve levels
of communication. At one level exists the situation, at another level
is the affirmative statement about this situation, and at still another
level is the verbal metacommunication negating the affirmative
statement. The affirmation and its negation (or contradiction) are not
of the same logical type, the former (the affirmation, at level two)
refers to the situation (at level one) and the latter (the
contradiction, at level 3) is a statement about the affirmation at
level two, and not about the situation at level one. (Wilden, 24-25)
occur in both natural and historical hierarchies.
For example, in the natural hierarchy of :
we can identify the relations of dependency, by employing "the
extinction rule" ( i.e. by trying to imagine the existence of one level
without another). Historical hierarchies are governed by people (using
strategies and tactics) and not simply by the forces of evolution, as
are the natural hierarchies. The relations in historical hierarchies
can be more easily falsified, resulting in what Professor Wilden has
termed "illegitimate hierarchies", which are real power relations, but
inherently unstable, such as: capital over labor power, or men over
women. These real but illegitimate hierarchies are maintained by an
imaginary operation which serves to "neutralize" real hierarchical
relations by reducing all relations to a single level in the imaginary
and creating a "symmetrization" like :
capital (on the one side) ::::::: labor power (on
the other side)
male (on the one side) :::::::: female (on the other side)
and often are manipulated into a mental construction by inverting the
real hierarchy into an imaginary hierarchy like :
Historical hierarchies are no more symmetrical than natural hierarchies
and, like inorganic nature over organic nature over society over
culture (in which the latter categories cannot exist without the
categories above them, which are their environment), historical
hierarchies represent a series dependent relationships between contexts
and their elements at different levels.
By creating a false sense of opposition with the illusion of symmetry,
the political forces occupying a higher level of power (such as state
or corporate interests) can successfully divide and rule groups at the
lower levels of historical hierarchies, often by sending them into
(from the point of view of their own collective interests) senseless
conflicts against one another. Corporate and state interests secure
their influence by exploiting social contradictions
, such as
can be seen when the masses are beseeching those who exploit them to
also protect them from one another.
A Paradox appears
when we recognize that the more we
need to be "protected" by our exploiters, the more we are exploited by
our "protectors". This spiral of violence requires that we must
constrain and be constrained by the very people who would be our only
source of salvation, i.e. our fictive enemies, who are in reality like
us, exploited by our "protectors".
The 6 items
below are articles which were recently
received by CEIMSA and which speak to epistemological errors that are
necessarily reproduced in order to mobilize reliable murderers to act
on a massive scale, such as is occurring daily in the Middle East.
is a testimony by
Palestinian father and entrepreneur, Sam Bahour
, born in
the U.S.A. He describes the Kafkaesque experience of being in an area
of Ramallah when it was targeted by Israeli Defense Forces, who killed
4 Palestinians that evening before they left the area.
, from Edward Herman, is an
article by Shulamit Aloni
, an Israel Prize Laureate and
former Minister for Education under Yitzhak Rabin, in which she
describes Israeli-style Apartheid.
is an article by Anatole
, on the "unthinkable alliance between America, Israel,
Saudi Arabia and Britain" in preparation for their attack on Iran and
the Shia Muslims in the region.
is the description of a
most virulent form of anti-Semitism, Anti-Arab racism in Israel,
according to Jerusalem Post
reporter Larry Derfner
in "Rattling the Cage: A bigot called Bibi".
is an interview with peace
activist, Tali Fahima
who was put in jail for 30 days
for being Jewish and associating with Palestinians for peace.
, from Academics for
, is the description and an analysis of a spontaneous
Free Speech Movement which took place recently at a high school in
Andover, Massachusetts, near Boston.
And finally, we recommend that readers visit Democracy Now !
at the link below, and connect with the historic debate between Norman
Finkelstein and Gil Troy on Jimmy Carter's controversial book, Palestine:
Peace Not Apartheid
Francis McCollum Feeley
Professor of American Studies
Director of Research
Université Stendhal Grenoble 3
From Sam Bahour :
Subject: Nadine eats Pizza in Ramallah
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2007
eats Pizza in Ramallah,
[Sam Bahour is one of the
biggest Palestinians I’ve ever met. American-raised, almost two metre
tall, built to last, the owner and manager of the first ever mall in
Ramallah, and a very pleasant man. Here he writes about yesterday’s
Israeli raid in Ramallah as seen through the eyes of his 6 years old
daughter – not a tear-squeezer but a human interest charming piece of
battlefield reporting. Shamir]
By Sam Bahour
I wanted to write this last night but was exhausted from playing
umpteen hands of the card game UNO with my 6 year old daughter, Nadine
(pic attached).Why this card frenzy, especially given I hate playing
cards? Well, we were in the center of Ramallah yesterday afternoon, at
3:40pm when the almighty Israeli military decided, again, that it was
time to wreak havoc on our city. I should not really complain since
what happened in Ramallah yesterday happens across the West Bank and
Gaza regularly. Nevertheless, I will make an issue about it and urge
every Palestinian, in every city, to make an issue about every Israeli
infraction on our lives.
Yesterday I was extremely busy all
day and had a dinner appointment with a serious venture capitalist in
in the evening, so I agreed with my wife and girls that since I would
not be home all day and night, that I'd pick them up at 3:30 sharp and
we would go for a late lunch. We haven't been out much given all of the
infighting lately so my girls were thrilled. I rushed home at 3:30 to
pick them up and found my daughters dressed to kill. To them, this was
a serious outing after a long holiday break which was spent mostly at
home. The restaurant they had as first choice was closed due to the
holidays, so they reverted to their favorite popular place, Angelo's
Pizzeria, for those that know it.
Angelo's Pizzeria is on the main
street in Ramallah, a few hundred meters from Lion's Circle, the smack
middle of town where you saw on the news Israeli bulldozers destroying
cars last night. I parked on the
Friends Girls School road
which is behind the restaurant. As soon as I exited the car I felt
something was wrong. As we walked into the restaurant I looked up and
could see an Israeli gunship helicopter hovering overhead firing at
some unknown target. We thought it would be safer to enter the
restaurant rather than return home.
The restaurant was full with most
tables nervous at the sound of gunfire from overhead. The waiters, who
have been through this dozens of times, visited the tables and played
and joked with the kids. They knew that things were not right and went
out of their way to make life normal, at least while we were their
customers. The restaurant manager, a friend, came to our table and
asked me for my car keys. He wanted to move my car because word came
that the Israeli jeeps and armored vehicles that were operating in town
were crushing cars parked on the side of the road. He found my car
already in a safe spot and reassured us that this will pass soon. He
knows, he has lived this reality every day for 40 years now!
We ordered a pizza and salad and Nadine insisted that Angelo's Pizzeria
has the best hamburgers in town and wanted one as well so she ordered
one herself. As we sat, things outside were clearly deteriorating. I
got a call on my cellular hone from my dad back in
Ohio. He asked where we are because no one answered at home. He briefed
me on the live reports he was watching about what was happening outside
the restaurant door. After talking with my father, I made frequent
visits to the restaurant door to view people rushing away from the city
center. While I was standing at the door, a friend of mine had finished
eating with his wife and 4 kids and stood at the door contemplating to
leave to cross the street to his car. I kept a lookout and gave him the
all clear as he rushed his family across the street to his car and he
was off. At this stage, I knew it was not only military activity
overhead but something very close by.
The salad showed up in no time and
we enjoyed it. Then the famous hamburger followed and then our pizza.
All the time my wife was trying to make phone contact with her sister
who we invited to join us but never showed up. She wanted to make sure
she was ok given all the shooting and commotion outside. My older
daughter, Areen, was a bit nervous, wondering how we were going to get
back home. We reassured her that all would be fine. In reality, we had
Forty minutes later, my wife, Abeer, Areen and I had finished eating
and were ready to go. Nadine, was happily, and very slowly, enjoying
her world-class hamburger and fries while every so often reassuring us.
" They come, shoot, arrest, and leave...so what's the problem? When
they leave, we will go home, right dad?"
"So what's the problem?"! The problem is how can a 6 year old calmly
sit through a mini-war happening outside the restaurant while
enthusiastically devouring a hamburger without the slightest hint of
Nadine finally finished and we headed home. Luckily we were parked in
the opposite direction of the shooting, so we drove the wrong way down
a one way street and headed home. On the way, taxis were rushing about,
driving worse than usual, shuttling people away from the center of
Ramallah. When we got near our home we had to cross the
Jerusalem-Ramallah road. Looking left about 200 meters away my girls
yelled out that the IDF was blocking the street. I glanced and it was a
mess. Jeeps all over, rocks filled the street, behind the jeeps I could
see the open market was full of soldiers.
We finally got home. Turned on CNN, nothing! Switched to Jazeerah and
they had live pictures of what was happening and the extent of it -
another Israeli invasion into Ramallah. An undercover Israeli hit team
tried to arrest someone and were exposed and came under Palestinian
fire. They called in re-enforcements and all the lone rangers came
running (and shooting and plowing).
I was contemplating with my wife if I should risk heading to
later in the evening. We agreed to wait and see how it develops given
the news reports started to say the IDF was completing their operations
and leaving the city center (only to move back to their permanent
position of surrounding our city).
I went to check my email and cancel
a radio interview appointment with CBC that I missed because of this
mess. This is when Nadine came and asked if I could accompany her to
the bathroom. She never asks to be accompanied. The bathroom in our
small flat is literally 1 meter from my computer and 3 meters from the
living room where Abeer was watching the news and Areen was letting
Grandma Sarah in
Youngstown know we were all home and ok.
I immediately understood and gladly
accompanied Nadine and even made it a fun trip. Then I cancelled all my
appointments that evening and spent the rest of the night doing exactly
what Nadine asked for - to play UNO. We played alone, with Areen, as a
family, and then alone again, multiple times. When bedtime came she
kissed me good night and headed to her room along with her sister as
usual - no escort. I felt that UNO therapy had worked. I may even claim
for a new deck of UNO on my health insurance policy.
My friends, I write this not to bore you with one family's experience
during 2 hours of occupation, but rather to scream to the world that we
need your help!
4 Palestinian civilians were killed last night in this attack, 20 were
injured, 5 of them seriously. I have no statistics on the number of
children, like Nadine, whose skin become thicker during this latest
has lost her way and the US is Palestinian-blind. Israel
is creating yet another generation of Palestinians that are more numb
to their military occupation than any other. Likewise, it is creating a
generation of Israeli occupiers that see my city as the wild, wild,
west. It is stripping children, Palestinian and Israeli, of their
childhood. It must stop and NOW. We need your active support:
Organize locally, at your church,
community center, union, etc. Support Jimmy Carter's stance against
Israeli Apartheid. Read his book. Write letters. Visit and engage your
representatives. Demand public statements. Sponsor a Palestinian
student. Invest in
Palestine. Request Angelo's Pizzeria start
exporting hamburgers by express mail. and most importantly, play UNO
with your kids.
Braced for the 4 funerals that will
start in 3 hours, Sam firstname.lastname@example.org
[The funniest thing about yesterday’s raid was the response of Mahmoud
Abbas who said that Israeli government proved it is not interested in
peace. Thank you for these tidings, Mr Abbas!]
From: Ed Herman :
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007
Subject: Aloni on apartheid in Israel
For those unfamiliar with Ms. Shulamit Aloni she is an Israel Prize
Laureate who served as Minister for Education under Yitzhak Rabin.
Indeed there is Apartheid in
[A new order issued by the GOC Central command bans
the conveyance of Palestinians in Israeli vehicles. Such a blatant
violation of the right to travel joins the long list of humans rights
violations carried out by Israel in the [Occupied] Territories.]
self-righteousness is taken for granted among ourselves to such an
extent that we fail to see what's right in front of our eyes. It's
simply inconceivable that the ultimate victims, the Jews, can carry out
evil deeds. Nevertheless, the state of Israel practises its own, quite
violent, form of Apartheid with the native Palestinian population.
The US Jewish Establishment's onslaught on former President Jimmy
Carter is based on him daring to tell the truth which is known to all:
through its army, the government of Israel practises a brutal form of
Apartheid in the territory it occupies. Its army has turned every
Palestinian village and town into a fenced-in, or blocked-in, detention
camp. All this is done in order to keep an eye on the population's
movements and to make its life difficult. Israel even imposes a total
curfew whenever the settlers, who have illegally usurped the
Palestinians' land, celebrate their holidays or conduct their parades.
If that were not enough, the generals commanding the region frequently
issue further orders, regulations, instructions and rules (let us not
forget: they are the lords of the land). By now they have requisitioned
further lands for the purpose of constructing "Jewish only" roads.
Wonderful roads, wide roads, well-paved roads, brightly lit at night -
all that on stolen land. When a Palestinian drives on such a road, his
vehicle is confiscated and he is sent on his way.
On one occasion I witnessed such an encounter between a driver and a
soldier who was taking down the details before confiscating the vehicle
and sending its owner away. "Why?" I asked the soldier. "It's an order
- this is a Jews-only road", he replied. I inquired as to where was the
sign indicating this fact and instructing [other] drivers not to use
it. His answer was nothing short of amazing. "It is his responsibility
to know it, and besides, what do you want us to do, put up a sign here
and let some antisemitic reporter or journalist take a photo so he that
can show the world that Apartheid exists here?"
Indeed Apartheid does exist here. And our army is not "the most
moral army in the world" as we are told by its commanders. Sufficient
to mention that every town and every village has turned into a
detention centre and that every entry and every exit has been closed,
cutting it off from arterial traffic. If it were not enough that
Palestinians are not allowed to travel on the roads paved 'for Jews
only', on their land, the current GOC found it necessary to land an
additional blow on the natives in their own land with an "ingenious
Humanitarian activists cannot transport Palestinians either
Major-General Naveh, renowned for his superior patriotism, has
issued a new order. Coming into affect on 19 January, it prohibits the
conveyance of Palestinians without a permit. The order determines that
Israelis are not allowed to transport Palestinians in an Israeli
vehicle (one registered in Israel regardless of what kind of
numberplate it carries) unless they have received explicit permission
to do so. The permit relates to both the driver and the Palestinian
passenger. Of course none of this applies to those whose labour serves
the settlers. They and their employers will naturally receive the
required permits so they can continue to serve the lords of the land,
Did man of peace President Carter truly err in concluding that Israel
is creating Apartheid? Did he exaggerate? Don't the US Jewish community
leaders recognise the International Convention on the Elimination of
all Forms of Racial Discrimination of 7 March 1966, to which Israel is
a signatory? Are the US Jews who launched the loud and abusive campaign
against Carter for supposedly maligning Israel's character and its
democratic and humanist nature unfamiliar with the International
Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid
of 30 November 1973? Apartheid is defined therein as an international
crime that among other things includes using different legal
instruments to rule over different racial groups, thus depriving people
of their human rights. Isn't freedom of travel one of these rights?
In the past, the US Jewish community leaders were quite familiar
with the meaning of those conventions. For some reason, however, they
are convinced that Israel is allowed to contravene them. It's OK to
kill civilians, women and children, old people and parents with their
children, deliberately or otherwise without accepting any
responsibility. It's permissible to rob people of their lands, destroy
their crops, and cage them up like animals in the zoo. From now on,
Israelis and International humanitarian organisations' volunteers are
prohibited from assisting a woman in labour by taking her to the
hospital. [Israeli human rights group] Yesh Din volunteers cannot take
a robbed and beaten-up Palestinian to the police station to lodge a
complaint. (Police stations are located at the heart of the
settlements.) Is there anyone who believes that this is not Apartheid?
Jimmy Carter does not need me to defend his reputation that has been
sullied by Israelophile community officials. The trouble is that their
love of Israel distorts their judgment and blinds them from seeing
what's in front of them. Israel is an occupying power that for 40 years
has been oppressing an indigenous people, which is entitled to a
sovereign and independent existence while living in peace with us. We
should remember that we too used very violent terror against foreign
rule because we wanted our own state. And the list of victims of terror
is quite long and extensive.
We do limit ourselves to denying the [Palestinian] people human rights.
We not only rob of them of their freedom, land and water. We apply
collective punishment to millions of people and even, in revenge-driven
frenzy, destroy the electricity supply for one and half million
civilians. Let them "sit in the darkness" and "starve".
Employees cannot be paid their wages because Israel is holding
500 million shekels that belong to the Palestinians. And after
all that we remain "pure as the driven snow". There are no moral
blemishes on our actions. There is no racial separation. There is no
Apartheid. It's an invention of the enemies of Israel. Hooray for our
brothers and sisters in the US! Your devotion is very much appreciated.
You have truly removed a nasty stain from us. Now there can be an extra
spring in our step as we confidently abuse the Palestinian population,
using the "most moral army in the world".
[Translated by Sol Salbe]
From: Jamshed Ghandhi :
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007
Subject: An unholy alliance threatening catastrophe
alliance threatening catastrophe
people think that the bungled invasion of Iraq, climaxing last week
with the bungled execution-assassination of Saddam Hussein, will go
down in history as the ultimate symbol of the Bush Administration’s
hubris and incompetence. They should think again. With the dawning of a
new year, the Bush-Blair partnership is working on an even more
horrendous foreign policy disaster.
What now seems to be in preparation at the White House, with the usual
unquestioning support from Downing Street, is a Middle Eastern
equivalent of the Second World War. The trigger for this all-embracing
war would be the formation of a previously unthinkable alliance between
America, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Britain, to confront Iran and the
rise of the power of Shia Islam.
The logical outcome of this “pinning back” process would be an air
strike by Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities, combined with a
renewed Israeli military campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon,
aggressive action by American and British soldiers to crush Iraq’s Shia
militias, while Saudi-backed Sunni terrorists undermined the
increasingly precarious pro-Iranian Government in Baghdad.
Consider the ominous events that occurred in the Middle East and
Washington over the holiday season, while most people were paying more
attention to their turkeys and Christmas stockings. The first in this
sequence of events was Tony Blair’s abrupt announcement that members of
the Saudi Royal Family accused of taking bribes from British defence
contractors would be exempted from the application of British law. To
risk a confrontation with the Saudi Royal Family, Mr Blair asserted,
would have jeopardised Britain’s security interests in Iraq and in the
war against terrorism, as well as dashing hopes of progress towards
peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This embarrassing
announcement by Mr Blair was quickly followed by his Dubai speech, in
which he called for an “arc of moderation” to “pin back” Iran’s
advances in the Middle East.
The second event, almost simultaneous with Mr Blair’s bribery
announcement, was the equally unexpected resignation of Saudi Arabia’s
Ambassador to Washington, Prince Turki al-Faisal, on December 15.
Prince Turki has long been a key figure in the Saudi security
establishment, whose last abrupt career move occurred in the autumn of
2001, when he suddenly resigned as liaison between the Saudi Royal
Family and the Taleban terrorists that they had been financing until
just before September 11. Turki was a leading member of a faction in
the Saudi Royal Family that has for months been advocating a more
conciliatory response towards the Shia hegemony in Iraq, including an
effort to open direct negotiations between America and Iran, as
recommended by James Baker’s Iraq Study Group. The Turki group’s main
rivals in the Saudi establishment have by contrast argued for much
tougher military action against what they called the “Christian-Shia
conspiracy” created by the US toleration of Iranian influence over
The Saudi power struggle came into the open through an article
published in The Washington Post
in mid-December, by
Nawaf Obeid, a Saudi security consultant ostensibly working for Turki,
but actually closer to the hardliners. Obeid cautioned that if American
troops were withdrawn from Iraq prematurely, in line with the Baker
report’s recommendations, Saudi Arabia would have no choice but to
intervene forcibly “to stop Iranian-backed Shi a militias from
butchering Iraq’s Sunnis”. Turki immediately fired Obeid, but shortly
afterwards was himself replaced by a hardliner.
Within Saudi Arabia itself, meanwhile, the anti-Iranian rhetoric is
gathering strength. Take this example from al-Salafi
quoted in The New York Times
: “Iran has become more dangerous
than Israel itself. The Iranian revolution has come to renew the
Persian presence in our region. This is the real clash of
The link between Israel and Iran in Saudi thinking brings us to the
third event in this chillingly unfestive sequence: the confrontation
over nuclear proliferation between the UN Security Council and Iran. If
Iran is now really hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons, Israel has
made it abundantly clear that it is equally hell-bent on stopping it
whether by diplomatic or military means. Whether Israeli bombing
would in practice do serious damage to the Iranian nuclear programme is
far from clear, but there are certainly hotheads in the Israeli
Government and military establishment who are itching to try.
There is, however, one binding constraint on Israel’s freedom of action
against Iran. This is the US. It is unlikely that Israel would bomb
Iran without explicit American approval and it is certain that a US
president would stop Israel if he believed America’s national interest
That has been the situation until recently, since America has depended
on Iranian-backed Shia politicians to prevent a total collapse of order
and a humiliating Saigon-style expulsion of American soldiers in Iraq.
Although Israel has never signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty,
many Israeli politicians believe that they are entitled to punish Iran
for its non-compliance with the treaty. For these trigger-happy
Israelis, Iran’s backdoor influence over Washington via the Iraqi Shia
has become a nightmare. The same is true of the Saudi princes. The
Saudi Royal Family rules a largely Shia country on the basis of a
fanatically enforced state religion whose senior spokesmen denounce the
Shia as heretic scum. These feelings are entirely mutual Iran’s
mad mullahs hate the Wahhabis every bit as much.
Thus, if there is one country in the world more worried than Israel
about an Iranian A-bomb, it is Saudi Arabia. And if there are two
countries in the world with real influence on the Bush White House,
they are Saudi Arabia and Israel. Now both these countries are telling
President Bush that he must pull the plug on Iraq’s Shia Government,
tear up the Baker report, whose most important advice was to open
diplomatic channels to Tehran, and prepare to attack Iran, either
directly or using the Israelis as a proxy. This is the basis of the
unholy alliance between Israel, Saudi Arabia and America, with Mr Blair
contributing a few choice soundbites.
The anti-Iranian “arc of moderation” may seem like another meaningless
Blairism, not nearly as threatening as Mr Bush’s “axis of evil”. But
this soundbite could unleash a disaster on the Middle East, beside
which the war in Iraq would be a mere sideshow.
What's your view? Post your comments below
Jeffrey Blankfort :
Thursday, January 04, 2007
Jerusalem Post on "Rattling the Cage: A bigot called
This is an extraordinary article that would
never see the light of day in any American newspaper where Derfner's
by-line frequently appears. This should be sent to "your" member of
Congress and your local newspaper columnists.-JB
Rattling the Cage: A bigot called
["Anti-Arab racism in Israel is either supported or
strategically ignored by the mainstream of the Jewish world, and pretty
much taken for granted by the gentile world."]
rights, Binyamin Netanyahu, who every poll says is by far the most
popular politician in Israel, should be ranked with Jean Le Pen, Jorge
Haider and the rest of the Western world's racist demagogues.
But he won't be, because anti-Arab racism in Israel is either supported
or strategically ignored by the mainstream of the Jewish world, and
pretty much taken for granted by the gentile world.
What Netanyahu said Tuesday night was not new for him; he was reported
to have made the same appeal to the same sort of audience - haredi
political leaders - a couple of years ago as finance minister.
Then, as now, he was apologizing for the way his child welfare cuts had
hurt large haredi families, while at the same time asking the haredim
to look at the bright sides of that policy.
"Two positive things happened," he told a conference of haredi
government officials in Nir Etzion this week. "Members of the haredi
public seriously joined the workforce. And on the national level, the
unexpected result was the demographic effect on the non-Jewish public,
where there was a dramatic drop in the birth rate." (Quoted in Ynet, Yediot
's Web site. The speech was also reported in Haaretz
The once-and-possibly-future prime minister of Israel says publicly
that he's sorry his welfare cuts made life harder for Jewish families
who are "blessed," as he put it, with many children, but isn't it
"positive" that these cuts resulted in fewer Arab children being born?
Then Netanyahu went on to suggest a national remedy for the victims of
his economic policies - but for Jewish victims only, not Arab victims.
"I don't think that the Jewish Agency should refrain from helping part
of the Jewish public in the state," he said, "and it is possible that
additional non-governmental bodies could have done so."
IMAGINE IF any gentile government official in the world cited the
lowering of the Jewish birthrate in his country as an accomplishment,
then recommended that his country's founding institution raise money to
help poor gentile families, but not poor Jewish families. How would the
Jewish world, starting with Israel, characterize such an individual?
What sort of pressure would the Jewish world apply to get him or her
fired, blackballed and, if possible, indicted?
Yet everyone knows the speech in Nir Etzion will not hurt Netanyahu at
all - even though, again, this is not the first time he's said this,
and even though the statements are perfectly in line with his standing
as Israel's number one fear-monger on the Israeli Arab "demographic
threat." (On second thought, Netanyahu is probably only number two -
Avigdor Lieberman, his former right-hand man and alter ego, is number
one. When it comes to the subject of Israeli Arabs, it's hard to tell
where Netanyahu ends and Lieberman begins.)
The worst that will happen to Netanyahu from this is that maybe another
liberal commentator or two will denounce him, and there will be a press
release from some civil rights organization. Maybe not even that. If,
on the other hand, we're really, really lucky, the attorney-general
might have a word to say. (FYI, even if there was a chance of it
happening, I wouldn't want to see Netanyahu indicted. If every Israeli
who made racist remarks in public had to stand trial, the courts would
collapse under the load.)
The only political parties that might censure Netanyahu are the
left-wing parties, and nobody cares about them; in fact, a bad word
from Meretz can only help the Likud leader in the polls.
The Anti-Defamation League won't say anything, and neither will the
other Diaspora Jewish organizations. Bibi is just too big, too popular,
too important, too much a symbol of Israel for the Diaspora Jewish
establishment to say a word against him, let alone accuse him of being
a shameless bigot.
Two positive things happened: Members of the haredi public seriously
joined the workforce. And on the national level, the unexpected result
was the demographic effect on the non-Jewish public, where there was a
dramatic drop in the birth rate.
That's the Israeli people's overwhelming choice for prime minister
talking. I hope The New York Times
, CNN and every other major
news medium in the world picks up this story and doesn't let it go
until Israel and Diaspora Jewry are shamed into dumping this guy once
and for all.
On second thought, exposure as an anti-Arab racist by the international
media could cause Netanyahu some problems overseas, but at home, it
would only increase his appeal
This article can also be read at http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1167467656176&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull
Copyright 1995-2007 The Jerusalem Post - http://www.jpost.com/
From: Sid Shniad :
Sent: Friday, January 05, 2007
Subject: Be a "good Jew"
Maybe more Europeans and Americans should follow in Fahima's footsteps
and actually go visit the Palestinians to see what they were making war.
'My crime was to protest at
Activist says she refused to work for secret
by Conal Urquhart in Tel Aviv
[In her first interview, Tali Fahima talks of life in
said they wanted to teach her to be a "good Jew" as she sat with her
arms handcuffed to the legs of her chair for 16 hours a day.
But if Tali Fahima was not prepared to be a good Jew then Shin Bet, the
Israeli secret service, was determined to put her in jail for as long
as possible regardless of what she did.
Ms Fahima, 30, was released from jail on Wednesday after serving almost
30 months in jail for travelling to the West Bank, meeting an enemy
agent and translating a simple army document.
"My first crime was that I refused to work with Shin Bet, the second
was that I insisted on going to see the Palestinians and the third was
that I protested against the Israeli policy of assassination," Ms
Fahima told the Guardian in her first interview since her release.
For nine months of her incarceration she was kept in isolation, without
access to any distractions such as books or television. "I used to lie
on my bed and think about Jenin, the people I met and wonder how things
were going there. I never get bored on my own," she said.
Eventually, Ms Fahima was persuaded by her lawyer to agree to a plea
bargain which would mean her serving only 10 months more than the 19
she had already served. It could take as long as a year to be found
innocent, she was advised.
She is unbowed by her experience. "I learnt about the nature of Shin
Bet, how they terrorise us, both the Israelis and Palestinians. I
learnt about the nature of the government, how they do not want us to
see what is going on in our name," she said.
Ms Fahima had been an apathetic legal secretary who voted for the
rightwing Likud party and carried Israeli prejudices about Palestinians
until in 2003 she decided she wanted to understand why the Palestinians
were attacking Israel.
She began making regular visits to Jenin, which had been devastated in
an Israeli raid earlier that year. She talked to hundreds of people
including Palestinian militants and for the first time heard the
Palestinian view of the intifada and the difficulty of life under
Her meetings with one militant, Zakaria Zubeidi, stood out. Zubeidi was
the leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in Jenin whose mother and
brother had been killed by the Israelis that year. In countless
interviews with journalists, including Israelis, he described how he
and his mother had been involved in an Israeli-Palestinian theatre
project which was the basis of an internationally-acclaimed Israeli
documentary, Arna's Children.
A week before Ms Fahima was arrested in August 2004 she received a
phone call from a Shin Bet agent who inquired how she was finding life
without work before inviting her to a meeting at her local police
station in Kiryat Gat in the south of Israel. She decided not to go. In
the month-long interrogation that followed her arrest she was
questioned about the people she had met and asked for information which
Ms Fahima said she did not have. During this period Shin Bet agents
briefed Israeli journalists she had been having an affair with Zubeidi,
who was well known to Israelis from newspaper interviews.
"It was a Shin Bet tactic to make me and him seem bad and to
delegitimise us oth," she said, adding that while it was obvious to
some that it was alicious, many, including friends, believed it.
When she was finally charged she was accused of translating an army
document which apparently detailed an arrest operation that was due to
"In the wake of the explanations of the accused," read the charge
sheet, "Zubeidi later ordered the wanted persons to hide until the
conclusion of the military operation and the wanted persons, who
carried out Zubeidi's directive and hid, were not detained."
The document contains three aerial maps of Jenin, and four photographs
of wanted men, including Zubeidi, with a short description of each.
Zubeidi speaks and reads Hebrew after years of work and imprisonment in
August 8 2004 Tali Fahima arrested
September 2004 Placed under administrative detention
December 2004 Charged with "assistance to the enemy at time of war"
January 2005 Tel Aviv district rules Ms Fahima should be placed under
house arrest during the trial
January 2005 Jerusalem's high court overrules district court saying she
"identifies with an ideological goal"
December 2005 Ms Fahima pleads guilty to meeting and aiding an enemy
agent and entering Palestinian territory
January 2006 Ms Fahima released
from Edward Herman :
Subject: FW: [AcademicsforJustice] Spokes and more thrown at Wheels of
Justice in Andover
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007
An interesting case study of the problem of free speech on Middle East
issues in this country.
My thoughts on Andover Controversay and links to Zionist
media barrage follows Joe's excellent summary (I will also update as
time goes by on this page:
was one of the most contentions events I’ve ever done. Whoever thought
that a simple talk in the library of Andover High School in a small
suburb of Massachusetts would make so many headlines.
It all started last October, when six social studies teachers invited
the Wheels of Justice Bus Tour to talk to a couple classes. The Wheels
of Justice Tour ( http://www.justicewheels.org/
) brings eyewitness
accounts of war and occupation in Iraq and Palestine to communities
across the US, including hundreds of high schools. I was on it for
several weeks at the end of October.
Despite the tour’s well-regarded reputation for supporting nonviolence
and human rights, a group of parents and influential community members
pressured the school’s principal, Peter Anderson, to cancel our visit,
claiming that we are “anti-Israel” and “support terrorists”, even going
so far as to call us a “hate group”. Late the night before we were
supposed to speak, Principal Anderson called one of the teachers and
told him the talks were off.
We drove the bus to the school the next morning anyway, hoping that the
principal could be convinced that this was an unfair violation of the
teachers’ rights. But we were unsuccessful, and Principal Anderson,
backed up by an Andover Police Officer, asked us to leave.
The teachers’ immediately began organizing, starting with a protest in
front of the school that day. The students followed suit with a
petition demanding we be allowed to speak. They had 200 signatures by
lunch time. Local Zionist groups issued press releases taking credit
for blocking us, though Principal Anderson insists that it was his
The teachers union joined with the ACLU and threatened to file a
lawsuit against the school district if they didn’t allow us to come
back. The school’s lawyers admitted that our case was strong and it
could end up costing the district a lot of money if he didn’t bring us
back. Anderson caved and bought me a plane ticket.
Zionist forces continued to try and apply pressure behind the scenes.
They attempted a court injunction, tried to insist students have
permission slips in order to attend, and threatened to hold a picket
outside the school. All of these failed, and we had an excellent day of
Because of all the publicity, many more teachers were interested in
hearing us speak, so several talks took place in the library with
combined classes. All in all, we spoke to over 200 kids in four
sessions. The students were very respectful, and asked thoughtful and
challenging questions. They seemed to especially like my hip-hop song
about Rachel Corrie. Though one student did tape a sign made from
notebook paper to an upper-level window that read “YOU SUPPORT TERRISM”.
Because some parents demanded to know what we had said to their kids,
the principal agreed to host an evening event that would be open to the
public. He clearly had no idea what he was getting into.
By 7pm, Over 300 people were crammed into the library, standing room
only, shoulder to shoulder. I counted about 100 Wheels of Justice
supporters, 120 Zionists, 80 high school students, nearly all of the
administration, three armed Andover police, two TV news cameras, and
several photojournalists. You could cut the tension with a knife.
Principal Anderson opened with a call for respect and civility,
threatening to cancel the event if there was any disruption. Mazin
Qumsiyeh, a prominent Palestinian-American activist, began his talk on
Palestinian history. Within 5 minutes, Zionists began screaming at him
and calling him a liar. Others yelled at them to be quiet and let Mazin
speak. Anderson got up and again threatened to cancel the event, but
one of the Zionist leaders took the mic and encouraged her supporters
to behave, or otherwise they’d never know what we told their kids.
The event continued with frequent disruption, including threats of
violence and other missives. Anderson never removed anyone, even though
there were clearly individual provocateurs. Dr Hassan Fouda, an
Egyptian-American activist spoke next about his experiences with
nonviolent resistance in Palestine. Then I talked about my trip to
Iraq, and ended with my song about Rachel Corrie.
The opposition was a little less disruptive during my talk, perhaps
because it was on Iraq, perhaps because I’m not Arab-American. Though
several people in the back tried to distract me during my song about
Rachel by making faces and waving their arms. “These are adults?” I
We then set into the much-anticipated question and answer session,
moderated by Principal Anderson, and all hell broke lose. We got
through about four questions, if you can call them questions, more like
sermons and diatribes. Though the Zionists would not let us answer the
questions, and some of our supporters attempted to match their level of
disruption in our defense. Eventually, Anderson called it off and
abruptly ended the discussion.
However, many people stayed afterwards to talk with us and with each
other. The high school newspaper and television station went around
interviewing people, and Zionists argued with Mazin and I. Over a dozen
students and parents, including Zionists, came up and apologized to me
for the way their community behaved. A group of Andover HS students had
a small caucus to discuss the event. Student Zionists, supporters, and
those on the fence all agreed that this dialogue is important and that
they were embarrassed by their parents’ behavior. We weren’t out of
there until 10:30pm.
All this was nothing new for me, indeed I’m used to these Zionist
whackos having M16s and rocks. Though this was particularly extreme for
the US. It reminded me of a talk I did at Washington University
in St Louis, where at least half of the 30-student crowed were there to
oppose me, including folks wearing Israeli Defense Force hats and
T-Shirts. Their onslaught was so intense it caused me to lose my cool
and yell, calling the racists. The look in their eyes reminded me of
the soldiers and settlers whose violence has so traumatized me. A
similar situation could have resulted at MSU in Lansing, MI, where the
campus Democrats and Republicans teamed up with a Jewish group to try
and pull the funding for my event. They prepared a packet of print-outs
from my website and lyrics from my songs attempting to demonstrate that
I supported terrorism. When they failed, they vowed to disrupt the
event, and campus officials wanted to bring on armed cops. The
organizers insisted they could maintain control without police, and
they set up an independent student security force stationed at the
doors and isles. My fellow speaker and I even got personal body guards!
Over 150 students showed up to that event, with about 30 of the
opposition who remained calm and quiet. Several more protested outside
with signs like “smash hippy leftist scum” and enlarged pictures of me
with a hammer and sickle on my forehead.
It never ceases to amaze me how far some people will go to hide the
truth. Though it shouldn’t be surprising, considering that lies and
propaganda is all the Zionist movement has to stand on. Once enough
Americans learn the truth about what our government is supporting in
the Middle East, Zionist imperialism is done for.
In the meantime, we’ll keep speaking out, and educating our youth to
think for themselves. All this does make me think that I could actually
be a high school teacher someday. I am so inspired by the passion of
these teachers and students who continue demanding the truth.
Mazin Qumsiyeh on Andover issue
wanted to expand on a few issues beyond what Joe covered. We
normally have four people: a bus manager, a bus driver, and two
speakers. The physical bus could not come back to the school (it was in
the Boston/Andover area giving talks in November) and now it is in
Arizona. We had thus three speakers at this high school:
We gave introduction to the bus and where we have been. The bus
speakers are all volunteers and we spoke at hundreds of middle schools,
high schools, colleges and universities around the country. The
bus supports the universal declaration of human rights and supports
non-violence. We believe that to address violence (that kills far
more native people than occupiers and colonizers) we must address the
root causes of injustice, discrimination and racism. I then spoke
of the Israel/Palestine situation by highlighting my own experiences,
the destruction and ethnic cleansing of 530 Palestinian villages and
towns between 1947-1949) and the subsequent nearly six decades of
occupation, ethnic cleansing, and theft of land. The shrinking
areas allocated to Palestinians now constitute less than 12% of
historic Palestine. Zionists flinched when I showed President
Carter's book cover on Israeli apartheid.
Dr. Hassan Fouda then spoke about non-violent resistance and showed
many examples of people of various faiths and backgrounds working
together for peace (Internationals, Israelis, Palestinians, Jews,
Christians, Muslims, etc). Here are just two examples of groups
mentioned by Hassan:
Breaking the silence: Israeli soldiers explaining the orders they are
given and giving testimonies of the acts they or their comrades
committed in the occupied areas ( http://breakingthesilence.org.il/index_e.asp
Bereaved Parents Circles: Israelis and Palestinians who lost relatives
and who chose to grieve and work together for peace rather than for
vengeance ( http://www.theparentscircle.com/
Israel Committee against Home Demolitions ( http://www.icahd.org/eng/
Hassan explained the long history of home demolitions and that Israelis
do this to expand settlement areas on the richest Palestinian
lands. He also showed a moving clip of an Israeli Jew (Jeff
Halper) pleading with soldiers trying to demolish a Palestinian home by
telling them that the Israeli laws they are implementing are unjust and
should not be obeyed (parallels to the Nuremberg laws in Nazi Germany).
Joe Carr spoke of the atrocities committed in Iraq since the American
occupation of 2003 (and before, US led sanctions killed over ½
million Iraqi Children). An excess Iraqi death toll of 655,000 Iraqis
in 3.5 years constitutes genocide. He also spoke of the loss of
three of his friends:
Tom Fox (a member of Christian Peacemaker team who was killed in Iraq),
Rachel Corrie (killed by an Israeli soldier driving a US made and
paid-for Caterpillar bulldozer) and Tom Hurndall (shot by an Israeli
sniper using a US made/paid for gun while Tom and Joe and others were
helping Palestinian children in an area where snipers specifically
The students and teachers were extremely interested and asked pertinent
and good questions in the four presentations we made. In the
evening, we were asked to do a public presentation. The Zionist
movement was recruited from even nearby towns and cities (one of them
in asking the question did not even know where he was). But there
was even more people who are supportive of peace and justice. The
Zionists tried to shout the presentation down. One person stood
and told them it would be good for their cause to “hear what we told
the students”. This did not make a big difference and
halfway into the Q&A session, the principal called the meeting
continued to mill around and engage in conversations. Some of the
books we had on the wheels of justice table were stolen while people
were busy talking to each other.
They tried various (and expected) strategies to intimidate, silence,
discredit, shoot the messenger etc. They had the usual few bad
cops and a couple of “good cops” to effect the desired change. All has
parallels in Zionist history (1.5 million cluster bombs in Lebanese
civilian areas this summer to leave a message while Peres talks as the
"good cop"). They were getting frustrated and angry that most of their
tricks did not work (and if anything backfired), as people do not like
to pushed around/bulldozed.
Similarly in Iraq, Lebanon and in Palestine, things are not quite
working well for the agenda of apartheid and racism. The
more aggressive and violent they are, the poorer they perform to
achieve their own objectives of control whether in Iraq, Palestine, or
Andover. I personally believe this is because of their biggest
Achilles’ heel: that they think in racist/tribalistic fashion (us here
them there as Rabin put it) and are trying to push other Americans to
do the same. To them “the other” cannot be human or humanized
(let alone have self-determination) or even engaged with in a civil
way. Early Zionist founders said it very clearly in the late 19th
century and early 20th century "We want to be feared not loved".
Despite repeated efforts to explain that we are three people with
different backgrounds and different political outlooks, they still kept
insisting that this is somehow a tribal conflict (we and the teachers
who invited us were labeled as “pro-Palestinians” “anti-Israeli”, and
even “anti-Semitic”). Despite our talk clearly showing the
diversity of groups and people in that part of the world, they ignored
all of that and pushed ahead as if the struggle is between Israelis and
Palestinians (if it is binary, it is actually between those who support
human rights and international law and those who don’t).
Of course I continue to challenge Zionists to public debates (most of
them refuse). I am willing to travel for such debates with any
leading Zionists (already covered Morton Kline of ZOA, David Harris of
AJC, and a few others). Truth after all should be visible and the
more light one sheds on things, the more the lies will get exposed.
(the religions and non-violent philosophies WE follow teach us to hate
the bad deeds but not the misled humans who do the bad deeds). We will
continue to speak truth to power without hate or malice to anyone. Stay
PS: not one of the students opted-out of our talks (even the children
of the the tiny minority of parents who demanded that option).
Here are some of the stories about our appearance. I put these in
approximate order of unfairness (first unfair progressing totally
Isn't it amazing that the Eagle Tribune
wrote three or four
articles on this "controversy" without ever interviewing one of the
people from the Wheels of Justice
Protests, injunction threatened against pro-Palestinian speakers.
And here are Zionist ratings (unrated
"opinion" is too strong a word since
most of these folks parrot others in the Zionist/racist camp and cannot
come up with their own opinions):
Contact your representatives and elected officials: use
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