Studies show that US coverage is Israeli-centric. The main bureaus for CNN, Associated Press, Time, etc. are located in Israel and often staffed by Israelis. The son of the NY Times bureau chief is in the Israeli army;"pundit" Jeffrey Goldberg served in the IDF; Wolf Blitzer worked for AIPAC. Because the U.S. gives Israel over $8 million/day - more than to any other nation - we feel it is essential that we be fully informed on this region. Below are news reports to augment mainstream coverage.

Monday, May 31, 2010

News Agencies Call On Israel To Lift Media Blackout On Gaza Flotilla Attack

IMEMC - Saed Bannoura - The Israeli Navy has jammed all communications aboard the ships of the Freedom Flotilla, blocking cell phone signals and internet connections aboard humanitarian aid ships. Scrambling the signals preceding the Israeli raid on the Flotilla, which involved special forces troops and the mobilization of one third of the Israeli Navy.

As the last few images broadcast from the Flotilla played over and over again on news channels around the world, agencies from Qatar to Malaysia called on Israel to allow them to report on the Israeli military attack on the civilian ships that left at least fifteen people dead.

Malaysian news agency Astro Awani called on the Israeli government to release information on two reporters aboard the Mavi Marmara, the Flotilla ship that was attacked by Israeli paratroopers early Monday morning. Al Jazeera Television also asked for protection for its three reporters aboard the ship. Both news agencies said they lost contact with their reporters just prior to the Israeli attack.

The Israeli government has tried to control the media's coverage of both the aid convoyand the raid on it, but the internet has frustrated its efforts, disseminating news and images from the ships.

Since all of those on board the ship who were not killed are presumed arrested by the Israeli military, the news agencies have called on the Israeli military to release the footage recorded by their reporters on board the ships. The small amount of video footage that has been able to get past the Israeli blackout has disproved Israeli claims that activists "grabbed the guns" of Israeli troops during their assault. Footage of the Israeli paratroopers landing on the ship's deck shows that the Israeli military attacked the unarmed activists unprovoked.

The Israeli government's complete blackout of the actual incident has been accompanied by a public relations blitz from Israeli government spokespersons and government-hired private public relations firms, who have continued to repeat already disproven claims that the humanitarian aid would have been allowed through if the activists had only gone through the proper channels to bring the aid. In fact, virtually all of the items on board the ships are banned by the Israeli government as "security risks" – including crayons, pencils, medical equipment and building materials. Because Israel continues to ban these items from entering the Gaza Strip, many of the 30,000 buildings destroyed by Israel during last year's three-week long assault on Gaza cannot be rebuilt.

Israel's media office began its public relations campaign before the aid caravan got underway, beginning with an attempt to inundate global media with "menus from Gaza restaurants" meant to show that the siege was not so bad. This effort backfired when video footage released by the Israeli government along with the alleged "Gaza menus" was proven to have been taken before the siege even began.

As the Israeli media blackout continues, along with carefully crafted messages by the Israeli government aimed at discrediting the humanitarian aid flotilla, messages from on board the ships and the hospital where injured activists were taken continue to trickle out via Twitter and the web - #flotilla, #FreedomFlotilla, #Gaza and #Israel are among the top international trending topics on Twitter. Although Israeli government spokesmen have attempted to justify the attack, Israeli media analysts have complained that the media blackout is not complete, and video footage of the unprovoked Israeli attack continues to leak out through the web.  Full story

Israel Kidnaps 700, including former high Reagan official, decorated Navy Veteran

According to reports, Israeli forces attacking a six-ship aid convoy to Gaza, killing approximately 16-20, are forcing all six ships to Israel in an act of international piracy, abducting over 700 civilians from around the world.

Among those abducted in the attack on the humanitarian flotilla is Ambassador Edward Peck, who was Deputy Director of the Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism at the Reagan White House and State Department Liaison Officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.

After retirement Ambassador Peck was Executive Secretary of the American Academy of Diplomacy. Ambassador Peck also served as a paratrooper during two tours of wartime active duty and spent 32 years in the Foreign Service, including Chief of Mission in Iraq.

Also abducted by Israeli forces is former Navy signalman Joe Meadors. Meadors, a resident of Texas, is a decorated veteran and a survivor of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, which killed 34 Americans and injured 174.  Meadors is a former president of the USS Liberty Veterans Association, which seeks an investigation into the attack.

Other Americans believed to have been kidnapped in the Israeli assault are:
  • Paul Larudee of El Cerrito, CA, a former Fullbright Scholar in Lebanon and currently a piano tuner and co-founder of the Free Palestine Movement, who also co-founded The Free Gaza Movement, the movement that first broke the siege of Gaza in 2008.
  • Gene St. Onge, an Oakland, CA-based civil/structural engineer and former Peace Corp Volunteer, who is working with Palestinian engineers to rebuild housing destroyed in Israel's 2009 invasion of Gaza.
  • Janet Kobren, a retired math teacher, San Francisco Bay Area resident, and co-founder of the FPM.
Others participating in the flotilla include Nobel laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire from Northern Ireland and a number of European legislators.

In addition to the deaths, Israeli forces are reported to have injured over 60 of the aid participants. It is unknown how many are in critical condition or permanently disabled.

US Government Silent on Israeli Attack on aid ships, Abductions of Americans

The White House and State Department have so far remained silent on Israel's lethal attack on civilian ships in international waters and abduction of hundreds of aid volunteers, including many Americans.

Callers to the White House (202.456.1414) are referred to the State Department. Callers to the State Department Duty Officer (202.647.4000) are told that she has no information to impart.

U.S. citizens on board one of the six aid boats, Sfendoni, believed to have been kidnapped in International waters by the Israeli Navy include:
  •    Ambassador Edward L. Peck, who served as a paratrooper during two tours of wartime active duty; spent 32 years in the Foreign Service; including stints as Chief of Mission in Iraq and Mauritania, Deputy Director of the Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism at the Reagan White House, and State Department Liaison Officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon; and after retirement was Executive Secretary of the American Academy of Diplomacy.
  •    Gene St. Onge, an Oakland, CA-based civil/structural engineer, who is working with Palestinian engineers to rebuild housing destroyed in Israel's 2009 invasion of Gaza; and
  •    Dr. Paul Larudee of El Cerrito, CA, a piano tuner and FPM co-founder, who also co-founded The Free Gaza Movement, the movement that first broke the siege of Gaza in 2008;
  •    Janet Kobren, a retired math teacher and co-founder of the FPM
  •    Joe Meadors, a decorated Navy veteran and one of the survivors of the 1967 attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, in which Israeli fighter planes and ships killed 34 Americans and wounded 173

Sweden calls on Israel to clarify convoy attack

The Local - Sweden's foreign minister Carl Bildt has summoned the Israeli ambassador to explain reports that Israeli armed forces have boarded the "Freedom Flottila" ships heading to Gaza, killing at least ten people.

"We want a clarification over what has happened," Carl Bildt said to Sveriges Radio P1 over the reports that the ships belonging to the "Ship to Gaza" convoy, carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza strip, had been boarded by Israeli military forces.

"We know that there are Swedes on some of the ships and we want to know what has happened to them. There appears no reason to question media reports that a Turkish vessel has been boarded, that a fire fight occurred and that people have been killed," Bildt said.

The flotilla of ships, carrying a reported 600 people from around 50 different nations, left Cyprus on Sunday evening and was due to arrive close to Gaza on Monday morning. The convoy, loaded with 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid, was intercepted in international waters in the eastern Mediterranean by Israeli warships and helicopters.

A live feed broadcast from a Turkish registered ship in the convoy shows Israeli forces boarding the ship and opening fire at around 8pm. Israeli military sources have confirmed ten dead, but other reports indicate that the death toll could be as high as nineteen, with dozens more injured.

Eleven Swedes are participating in the aid convoy including the author Henning Mankell, theologian Ulf Carmesund, Jewish artist and musician Dror Feiler and Swedish Green Party MP Mehmet Kaplan.

Swedish Green Party leader Peter Eriksson said that they had lost contact with Kaplan at around 5pm expressed concern over his fate in what he described as a completely legitimate and reasonable non-violent protest.

"If Israel has used extensive violence and killed people then it has to be seen as very serious. And it is important that there are strong reactions from both Sweden and other countries," Eriksson told news agency TT...

Mikael Löfgren at Ship to Gaza-Sweden told the Local on Thursday that the activists were aware of the Israeli government's warnings, and stressed that the project is a peaceful non-violent operation.

"We will not meet violence, with violence," Löfgren said on Thursday.

Israeli military sources however claimed on Monday that their forces were fired upon and that four soldiers were wounded while boarding the Turkish vessel.  Full story


 Press Contacts:
  • Dr Mona El Farra: Middle East Children's Alliance, Gaza 00.972(0)598.868.222
  • Adie Mormech: International Solidarity Movement 00.972(0)597.717.696
  • Max Ajl: Gaza Freedom March 00.972(0)597.750.798
We Gaza based Palestinian Civil Society Organizations and International activists call on the international community and civilsociety to pressure their governments and Israel to cease the abductions and killings in Israel’s attacks against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla sailing for Gaza, and begin a global response to hold Israel accountable for the murder of foreign civilians at sea and illegal piracy of civilian vessels carrying humanitarian aid for Gaza.

We salute the courage of all those who have organized this aid intervention and demand a safe passage through to Gaza for the 750 people of conscience from 40 different countries including 35 international politicians intent on breaking the Israeli-Egyptian blockade. We offer our sincerest condolences to family and friends who have lost loved ones in the attack. 

By sailing directly to Gaza, outside of Israeli waters, with cargo banned illegally by Israel, such as the 10,000 tonnes of badly needed concrete, toys, workbooks, chocolate, pasta and substantial medical supplies, the flotilla is exercising international law and upholding article 33 of the Geneva Convention which clearly  states that collective punishment is a crime against humanity. 

The hardships of Israel's closure of Gaza have been well documented by all human rights groups operating, most recently by Amnesty International in their Annual Human Rights Report concluding that the siege has "deepened the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Mass unemployment, extreme poverty,

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Videos on Israeli attack on Gaza aid flotilla

Press TV breaking news and interview with Alison Weir of If Americans Knew:

Al Jazeera report:

CNN Turkey covers Israeli attack; CNN in US is silent

CNN Turkey video:

Israel kills 20 people on Gaza humanitarian aid convoy, injures 50

Live news at 

Death toll from Gaza aid attack hits 20
Mon, 31 May 2010 05:27:14 GMT

Press TV - The death toll from the Israeli navy's takeover of a Gaza aid convoy has risen to 20 while Israel carefully censors reports on the casualties from the attack.

Gaza Freedom Flotilla came under fire early on Monday by Israeli navy forces in international waters more than 150km (90 miles) off the coast of Gaza.

The six-ship aid fleet was soon stormed by commandos descending from helicopters.

At least 20 people were killed in the takeover of the Gaza aid convoy, a Press TV correspondent reported, saying that more than 50 people were also wounded in the attack.

The news trickled through the Israeli military censorship which has sought to block the reporting of any information about the casualties.

A report on the radio said the censorship was aimed at covering up the number of casualties brought to Israeli hospitals for treatment.

Meanwhile, Israeli Trade and Industry Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer expressed regret for the deaths aboard the Gaza aid ships.

The images are certainly not pleasant. I can only voice regret at all the fatalities," he told Israel's Army Radio.

The comments come as the first official acknowledgement by Tel Aviv that the attack had turned fatal.

Israel had initially declined to comment on the reports of casualties from the takeover of the aid ships.

Earlier report from Al Jazeera:

Israeli forces have attacked a flotilla of aid-carrying ships aiming to break the country's siege on Gaza.

......The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65km off the Gaza coast.
Footage from the flotilla's lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara, showed armed Israeli soldiers boarding the ship and helicopters flying overhead.

Al Jazeera's Jamal Elshayyal, on board the Mavi Marmara, said Israeli troops had used live ammunition during the operation.

The Israeli Army Radio said soldiers opened fire "after confronting those on board carrying sharp objects".

Free Gaza Movement, the organisers of the flotilla, however, said the troops opened fire as soon as they stormed the ships.

They also said the ships were now being towed to the Israeli town of Haifa, instead of Ashdod to avoid waiting journalists.

Earlier, the Israeli navy had contacted the captain of the Mavi Marmara, asking him to identify himself and say where the ship was headed.

Shortly after, two Israeli naval vessels had flanked the flotilla on either side, but at a distance.

Organisers of the flotilla carrying 10,000 tonnes of humanitarian aid then diverted their ships and slowed down to avoid a confrontation during the night.

They also issued all passengers life jackets and asked them to remain below deck.

Al Jazeera’s Ayman Mohyeldin, reporting from Jerusalem, said the Israeli action was surprising.

"All the images being shown from the activists on board those ships show clearly that they were civilians and peaceful in nature, with medical supplies on board. So it will surprise many in the international community to learn what could have possibly led to this type of confrontation," he said.

Meanwhile, Israeli police have been put on a heightened state of alert across the country to prevent any civil disturbances.

Condemnation has been quick to pour in after the Israeli action.

Thousands of Turkish protesters tried to storm the Israeli consulate in Istanbul soon after the news of the operation broke. The protesters shouted "Damn Israel" as police blocked them.

Turkey is also reported to have summoned the Israeli ambassador to lodge a protest.

"(The interception on the convoy) is unacceptable ... Israel will have to endure the consequences of this behaviour," the Turkish foreign ministry said in a statement.

Ismail Haniya, the Hamas leader in Gaza, has also dubbed the Israeli action as "barbaric".

Hundreds of pro-Palestinian activists, including a Nobel laureate and several European legislators, were with the flotilla, aiming to reach Gaza in defiance of an Israeli embargo.

[Passengers also included Joe Meadors, a survivor of Israel's attack on a US Navy ship, the USS Liberty, which killed 34 Americans and injured 174.]

But Israel had said it would not allow the flotilla to reach the Gaza Strip and vowed to stop the six ships from reaching the coastal Palestinian territory.

The flotilla had set sail from a port in Cyprus on Sunday and aimed to reach Gaza by Monday morning.

Israel said the boats were embarking on "an act of provocation" against the Israeli military, rather than providing aid, and that it had issued warrants to prohibit their entrance to Gaza.

It asserted that the flotilla would be breaking international law by landing in Gaza, a claim the organisers rejected.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Rebuttal of Israel's Disinformation Campaign Against the Gaza Freedom Flotilla

Free Gaza team
For over four years, Israel has subjected the civilian population of Gaza to an increasingly severe blockade, resulting in a man-made humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions. [In May], John Ging, the Director of Operations of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza, called upon the international community to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sending ships loaded with humanitarian aid. This weekend, 9 civilian boats carrying 700 human rights workers from 40 countries and 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid will attempt to do just that: break through the Israel's illegal military blockade on the Gaza Strip in non-violent direct action. In response, the Israeli government has threatened to send out 'half' of its Naval forces to violently stop our flotilla, and they have engaged in a deceitful campaign of misinformation regarding our mission.

Israel claims that there is no ongoing humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Every international aid organization working in Gaza has documented this crisis in stark detail. Just released earlier this week, Amnesty International's Annual Human Rights Report stated that Israeli's siege on Gaza has "deepened the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Mass unemployment, extreme poverty, food insecurity and food price rises caused by shortages left four out of five Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid. The scope of the blockade and statements made by Israeli officials about its purpose showed that it was being imposed as a form of collective punishment of Gazans, a flagrant violation of international law."[1]

Israel claims that its blockade is directed simply at the Hamas government in Gaza, and is limited to so-called 'security' items. Yet When U.S. Senator John Kerry visited Gaza last year, he was shocked to discover that the Israeli blockade included staple food items such as lentils, macaroni and tomato paste.[2]

Furthermore, Gisha, the Israeli Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, has documented numerous official Israeli government statements that the blockade is intended to put 'pressure' on Gaza's population, and collective punishment of civilians is an illegal act under international law.[3]

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Daily Situation Reports & Other News Sources

Detailed reports on the conflict are posted daily by the Palestinian Monitoring Group. By clicking on a date you can see a report of the previous day's incidents.

Other useful sources are the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC)Maan News,  and a variety of other news sources and agregators on this topic.

Our news editor is out of the country for the coming week. Until she returns we suggest going to the above sources to see the latest news on this issue.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hamas: Expulsions continue under Mitchell cover

Ma'an - Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum called the deportation of a Hamas lawmaker from Jerusalem, then a Gaza-born man and his brother from their Beersheba home an "escalation...carried out under the cover of negotiations."

In a statement released hours after the second and third deportations in two days, Barhoum expressed concern saying "Lawmakers and residents are expelled in a continuing attempt to tamper with Palestinian demographics in areas under Israeli control," and accused the United States of ignoring the crimes in order to pursue its own program of peace talks without taking into account real rights violations of Palestinians.

Barhoum said he considered the deportation of Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council Mohamad Abu Tier from his Jerusalem home on Thursday a "racist and dangerous tactic [designed] to expand full [Israeli] control over Jerusalem," and saying that the move came "within Israel's demographic war on Palestinians."

The official warned that the current Arab attitude over the expulsions combined with the apparent American insistence on overlooking the issue "will lead to the expulsion of more and more Palestinians from their homeland."

Reports of deportations have increased since 13 April when two new Israeli military orders were put in place, expanding the definition of an "infiltrator" to include any Palestinian residing in areas under Israeli control without unspecified permissions from officials. The orders, 1649 and 1650, have been called sweeping and vague by human rights experts, and may be behind many of the recent removal of Palestinians from Israel, as well as the expulsion of a released prisoner whose family lives in the West Bank city of Tulkarem.

Palestinians have been deported to the Gaza Strip, and some allegedly to Jordan. It remains unclear which expulsions were carried out under the military orders.

In the case of Abu Tier, Israeli officials said he lost his residency rights for Jerusalem after participating in the Palestinian general elections in January 2006.

Report: Israeli soldiers shoot Bedouin`s camel

Ma'an – Israeli soldiers shot the camel of Bedouin farmers dead on Friday night, Palestinian officials said, following an altercation with the owners.

Israeli media said the three soldiers involved in the incident left their Jericho-area military base without permission, and admitted to killing the animal after the owners filed a complaint with the local Civil Administration office.

According to reports, the military will launch a probe into the events surrounding the death of the camel, and threatened to punish the officers.

Following Israel's Operation Cast Lead, which the UN-mandated Goldstone report found grounds for investigations of war crimes and crimes against humanity, and saw the death of more than 1,400 Palestinians, three Israeli military personnel were reprimanded.

The preceding year, an officer who was filmed shooting a bound and gagged teenager during an anti-wall protest at close range with a rubber-coated bullet was demoted and moved to a new unit. His commanding officer, who he said ordered the shooting and can be seen on the tape, was not investigated.

Don't Rock the Boat – A Critique of a Pamphlet Defending Zionism in the American Left

Palestine Think Tank - Jay Knott

......This is a review of the pamphlet "The Past Didn't Go Anywhere" – by April Rosenblum, April 2007, available from, subtitled 'Making resistance to antisemitism part of all our movements'.

.....A Zionist thinktank called "The Israel Project" produced a booklet on how to fool the American pc left. April's pamphlet implements their recommendations. It is basically a Zionist tract in the guise of modern leftism, with lots of references to 'oppression' and so on.

I found out about it via a Zionist supporter of the violent leftist group 'Anti-Racist Action', accusing anti-war activists in Portland, Oregon, of being anti-semitic. Someone linked to April's pamphlet via a posting on Indymedia......

The first thing to note is the pamphlet's style. It is written and laid out like the famous 'For Dummies' series (Theoretical Physics for Dummies, etc.). It uses a deceptively casual, friendly tone to try to dictate ideas to the reader, rather than explain them. It pretends it is possible to present complex ideas in a simplistic style with lots of assertions, sidebars and pictures, no attempt to falsify hypotheses, and statements too vague to be testable.

Pamphlet (page 4): "In the basic ways that it plays out, antisemitism is not so different from the ways that many diaspora communities get scapegoated throughout the world."

So does that mean it is similar to the scapegoating of the Overseas Chinese in Malaya in 1969, or that of Indians in East Africa? No, that is not what April means. If it were, it would mean that anti-semitism is an example of an ethno-economic entity being on the receiving end of resentment from the oppressed. Malays attacked Chinese and Africans attacked Indians because they were privileged. Their wealth was built on oppressing the poor. Admittedly, the ruling elites were even more culpable, but one can understand the resentment toward the middlemen without in any way justifying the violence. But try saying there was a 'grain of truth' in equivalent resentment against the Jewish middle class in Russia, Spain and Germany. Of course, that is not what April is saying. She's saying anti-semitism is special.

This pamphlet is an example of what Gilad Atzmon calls 'crypto-Zionism' – a failed attempt to separate Jewish identity from Jewish racism. It is Jewish supremacy disguised as schmaltzy left-wing morality.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Protester critical after West Bank nonviolent demonstration

Ma'an – One protester was critically injured, witnesses in Al-Ma'asara said, after Israeli forces shot tear-gas canisters and sound bombs at a non-violent rally south of Bethlehem on Friday....

Two others were injured in the rally, both hospitalized according to witnesses, with 23 year old Mahmoud Zawareh released shortly after he was admitted, while 23 year old Hasen Brejieyah was transferred to a Hebron hospital in critical condition, a family member said.

One protester, who witnessed Israeli forces detaining Iyad and Mahmoud Zawahreh, confirmed to Ma'an that neither young man had thrown rocks, and described the entire protest as "peaceful."...

The Israeli military spokeswoman said two detained were transferred to Israeli police custody for questioning.


Popular resistance protests continued across the West Bank on Friday, with Bil'in events seeing three international solidarity activists detained and one boy injured.

Carrying banners calling for the continuation of a boycott on settlement goods, protesters from Bil'in marched toward Israel's separation wall, demanded it be moved and relocated on the pre-1967 border.

The protesters called for an end to Israeli land confiscation, and attempted to enter village-owned lands on the far side of the wall, but were met with tear-gas and sound bombs, organizers said.

A local boy who suffers from developmental disabilities, 14 year old Tareq Adnan Abu Rahma, was hit in the foot by a tear-gas canister.

Those detained were identified as Tal Sahpira, 26, Hamotal Artua, 32, and a 62 year old journalist... Full story

10 detained by Israeli forces in West Bank, police say

Ma'an - Israeli forces detained ten Palestinians including an elderly man and his seven children during arrest campaigns in the West Bank districts of Jenin, Hebron and Jericho on Friday morning.

A police report from the Jenin municipal office said forces invaded the town of Kfar Ra'i and entered several homes, which were searched and ransacked.....  Full story

Qusra village farmers driven off fields by settlers

Ma'an – Armed Israeli settlers from the illegal community of Migdalim accosted a group of Palestinian farmers from the Qusra village on Friday morning, and demanded that they leave the fields or face injury, farmers reported.

Ghassan Doughlas, the official responsible for settlement activity in the northern West Bank, said the farmers were driven away from their lands and unable to harvest crops for the day...

Doughlas called on nations supporting the peace process to demand protection for Palestinians from violent settlers, saying the continued aggression could damage hopes for a just solution to the settlement issue. Full story

Khan Younis: 2 Palestinian teens dead, Israeli soldier injured

Ma'an – Two teenage Gaza residents were killed by Israeli forces as they snuck out of the Strip allegedly looking for work, Palestinian medics said on Friday.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the two dead were identified as armed by troops, and killed in an exchange of fire with Israeli forces "right next to Nirim," an Israeli moshav in the western Negev.The spokeswoman thus confirmed reports by the operations room of the de facto government, which said "two resistance fighters were killed on the scene."

De facto government officials had described "fierce fighting" in the Khan Younis area, and Islamic Jihad said its Al-Qassam fighters clashed with Israeli forces but reported no injuries.

The army spokeswoman said soldiers exchanged fire with the two men, but medics later said the two were unarmed, and approximately 16-years-old.

According to the Al-Quds Brigades, their fighters did not enter Israel, where the army spokeswoman said two were killed, but rather clashed with troops near the border after they heard shots fired.

A statement from the brigades said fighters responded to the Israeli fire that killed the two boys.

Media coordinator for Gaza medical services Adham Abu Selmieyah hospital staff were coordinating with the Red Cross and the Israeli army to bring the bodies of the two back to Gaza.

The Al-Quds statement said that at 1:40 in the afternoon "a group of affiliates fought back Israeli forces that had suddenly approached the area east of Al-Faraheen in the Khan Younis district," and reported an exchange of fire.

The statement affirmed the right of the group to continue resistance activities.

At just after 8:30pm, an Israeli military spokeswoman said, sniper fire hit a soldier in what she described as a separate incident. The soldier was said to be in moderate condition.

Hours later, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, the Salah Din Brigades, claimed to have carried out the attack, releasing a statement to Ma'an saying the fire "came in response to the crimes of the Israeli occupation."

Shaping the Story on Iran, by Philip Giradi - There have been recent reports that Iran has enabled the travel of al-Qaeda leaders to Afghanistan and Pakistan where they will be able to confront and kill American soldiers.  If you think you have heard the story before, you have, in another context.  In the earlier rendition it was Saddam Hussein who was hand-in-glove with al-Qaeda, helping the group in its nefarious planning to attack the United States and kill Americans.  Saddam, who was in reality only a threat to his own people, was on the receiving end of a barrage of fabricated information claiming that he was secretly developing weapons of mass destruction and clandestinely dealing with the terrorists who were responsible for 9/11.  Or so the story goes.  And now it is Iran’s turn and the story and the storytellers are exactly the same.

Talking about Athens and Jerusalem in Athens by Gilad Atzmon

Gilad Atzmon - On the eve of the Gaza Flotilla Mission. A talk given in Kyttaro Athens 19.5.10 
  • There is often a noticeable discrepancy between what one claims to be and what one actually is.
  • Hegel taught us that our self-perception is a fragile and evolving amalgam of the way we like to see ourselves  and the way we are mirrored by others.
  • ... It seems that man is not exactly an island. We live amongst others and are shaped by a process of mirroring.
  • In terms of Jewish history, we can detect a real dilemma here concerning this mirroring.  As much as Jews tend to regard themselves (traditionally) as a chosen people, they have been largely confused by other people’s dismissal of their ‘greatness’.
  • Zionism intended to amend this dilemma. It promised to reinvent the Jew as a proud authentic, ethical, universal, productive, organic, humble and civilised human being.
  • If Athens stands for universalism and inclusive ideologies and Jerusalem stands for tribal and exclusive thinking, Zionism was a promise to introduce Athens to the Jerusalemite.
  • The Zionist Jew was supposed to eventually look into the mirror with pride.
  • Zionism may have been, at one stage, a genuine attempt to bring this about. However, it was doomed to fail. It was set into a conflict with the indigenous Palestinian population. It was inspired by Biblical plunderous ideology. It was unethical to the bone. Zionism is, practically speaking, a repetition of a Biblical sin.
  • As much as the Israelis insisted on presenting themselves as moral beings celebrating their national revival project, millions of uprooted Palestinians were there to remind us all that the  notion of an ethical ‘new Zionist Jew’ was mere spin.
  • As much as we can recall seeing white phosphorous pouring over UN shelters, as much as we witnessed babies being slaughtered, as much as we continue to witness Gaza transformed into the biggest jail in the history of humanity, the Israelis also see it all by themselves. But far more concerning for them is the fact that they see themselves being watched by the rest of us.
  • They see themselves mirrored as modern day evil by our gaze.
  • Lacan teaches us that ‘unconsciousness is the discourse of the other’. Unconsciousness is the fear of becoming the subject of a public discourse. From a Lacanian perspective, the fear of impotence should be realised as the threat of being established as ‘sexually malfunctioning’ instead of just failing in bed.
  • Similarly, the Israeli collective unconsciousness can be grasped as the fear of being perceived as a collective murderous society rather than the obvious concern about being involved in the murderous act itself.
  • This fear has matured along the years into a unique form of Israeli collective neurosis. In fact, when Zionists blame you for being an anti Semite, they basically express a deep unease with the fact that you have managed to see through them.
  • As things stand, the discrepancy between ‘what the Israeli claims to be’ and ‘what the Israeli happens to be for real’ has already grown into an unbridgeable abyss.
  • Consequently, the gap between Athens and Jerusalem is more noticeable than ever.
  • Since 1948, the Israelis and Zionist insisted on portraying Israel as nation amongst nations. However, after the 2006 Lebanon campaign and the 2009 Gaza massacre, such an effort is in vain.
  • The deceptive attempt to portray the Jewish state as an ordinary society is doomed to fail.
  • The current, hawkish Israeli government is fully aware of all this. They know about the unbridgeable gap between Athens and Jerusalem. They are familiar with the unavoidable neurosis, but they also know how to resolve it. As we can see, Israel has given up on Athens.
  • Israeli foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman does realise that for Israel to survive as the ‘Jews only state’, the demographic threat posed by Palestinians must be resolved once and for all.
  • Israel is preparing itself for a second Nakba. For those who do not realise, the ethnic cleansing currently taking place in Jerusalem is part of this sinister program. Israel also insists on maintaining its status as the region’s only nuclear power. It is willing to take the risk of an attack on Iran.
  • As we have known for more than a while, Israel is the biggest threat to world peace.
  • Israel also realises that it won’t be able to fulfil its missions with American support.
  • Israel is willing to, at least momentarily, run into conflict with the entire West.
  • In political terms, Israel’s behaviour is totally unpredictable.
  • The history of Western civilisation can be realised as a continuous battle between Athens and Jerusalem. Between the universal and the tribal. Between the ethical and the plunderer.
  • Our assets known as humanism are all associated with Athens. Interestingly enough, the Jews who contributed to humanism, such as Jesus, Spinoza and Marx  and many others, were people who opened their hearts to the Athenian philosophy. Jesus, Spinoza and  Marx broke away from Jerusalem.
  • To stand up against Israel is to fight against the invasion of Jerusalem. To stand up against Israel is to fight for the revival of Athens. Bearing all this in mind, it is not that surprising to find the Greek people at the forefront of the Palestinian solidarity movement. 
  • Accordingly, the coming Gaza Flotilla Mission is not just a humanitarian mission. It is actually there to remind us of what humanism is all about. It is there to remind us of what Athens stands for.

OIC: Israeli occupation of Golan Heights threat to global security

Ma'an - Israel's continued threats against Syria, aimed at escalating regional tensions, are endangering global peace and security, foreign ministers convening at the Organization of Islamic Conference said Thursday.

The remarks were drafted in a resolution after the body finalized its 37th session, the government-backed Syrian Arab News Agency reported.

The OIC further called on countries not to supply Israel with any military assistance, or any economic, financial, technical or human assistance that might prolong the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan.

The resolution said Israel was compelled to return the Golan Heights to full Syrian sovereignty, and implement the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the Syrian captives in Israeli occupation prisons, under inhuman conditions, "which led to deterioration in their psychological and health conditions, exposing their live to risks, in violation of every human and international norms," SANA wrote.

Conveners further condemned Israel for failing to abide by UN Security Council resolution No. 497 in 1981, and for its "continued alteration" of the judicial, demographic, and civilization feature of the occupied Syrian Golan, asserting that the continued Israeli occupation of the Golan threatens international peace and security.

"The OIC Ministerial Council asserts that the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction, and administration on the occupied Syrian Golan is null and void and has no legitimate or judicial value, and constitutes a flagrant violation of the UN Charter and its related resolutions and of international law rules," the resolution read, according to SANA.....  Full story

Israelis to launch 'counter' Freedom Fleet boat

Ma'an – Two Israeli boats will lift anchor on Saturday from northern Israel, in response to the upcoming arrival of the Freedom Fleet in Gaza's port, bringing humanitarian aid and some 600 peace activists, Israeli media reported.

According to the Hebrew online news site Yedioth Aharonoth, the two vessels will wave banners describing "barbaric Hamas" and the Armenian genocide, allegedly in response to Turkish involvement in the nine-boat convoy.

"The [Israeli] fleet will go to confuse those who are coming to confuse Israel," the daily wrote.

The two fleets will not encounter one another as Israel's navy is set to declare the area south of Ashdod a closed military zone to prevent the Freedom Fleet from weighing anchor.

The MV Rachel Corrie, which raised anchor on Saturday, headed to the Mediterranean port of Cyprus, where it will join the Rachel, three Turkish ships and five from Greece all heading toward the Gaza port.

All nine boats are set to cast anchor at Gaza City's docks on 27 May, Palestinian lawmaker Jamal Al-Khudari said, following their rendezvous in Cyprus on 25 May.

The flotilla, organized by a coalition of groups from around the globe, will bring some 10,000 tons of reconstruction material, medical equipment and school supplies to the coastal region under siege.

Hundreds of activists protesting Israel's siege on Gaza will also be aboard the vessels, which will reportedly face a bevy of Israeli naval ships enforcing the Gaza blockade, though UN official in Gaza John Ging told a Norwegian paper that he saw no reason that a flotilla will be opposed. 

U.S. Delegation Headed for Gaza with International Aid Flotilla – includes retired Ambassador, decorated Navy veteran

Palestine Chronicle - Omar Ghraieb
May 20: A decorated U.S. Navy veteran, a retired U.S. ambassador, a structural engineer, a former math teacher and a piano tuner are heading for the eastern Mediterranean to take part in the Freedom Flotilla, a multinational grassroots effort to deliver humanitarian relief aid to the besieged Gaza Strip by sea. They will represent the Free Palestine Movement (FPM), a California-based human rights organization that helped to purchase one of the ships and is sending reconstruction supplies aboard it. In all, the convoy will include at least eight ships, carrying 600 passengers and 5,000 tons of building materials, medical equipment, and school supplies.

Participating in the FPM delegation will be:

• Joe Meadors, a decorated Navy veteran and one of the survivors of the 1967 attack on the U.S.S. Liberty, in which Israeli fighter planes and ships killed 34 Americans and wounded 173;

• Ambassador Edward L. Peck, who served as a paratrooper during two tours of wartime active duty; spent 32 years in the Foreign Service; including stints as Chief of Mission in Iraq and Mauritania, Deputy Director of the Cabinet Task Force on Terrorism at the Reagan White House, and State Department Liaison Officer to the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon; and after retirement was Executive Secretary of the American Academy of Diplomacy;

• Gene St. Onge, an Oakland, CA-based civil/structural engineer, who is working with Palestinian engineers to rebuild housing destroyed in Israel's 2009 invasion of Gaza;

• Janet Kobren of Oakland, CA, a retired math teacher and co-founder of the FPM; and

• Dr. Paul Larudee of El Cerrito, CA, a piano tuner and FPM co-founder, who also co-founded the movement that first broke the siege of Gaza in 2008.

One of the ships participating in the convoy, the MV Rachel Corrie, set sail from Ireland on May 14. When it reaches the eastern Mediterranean, it will rendezvous with the other ships, which are sailing from Greece and Turkey. The flotilla is due to arrive in Gaza around the end of May.

Even though the convoy has no intention of entering Israeli territorial waters, Israel authorities are using both diplomatic pressure and the threat of force to try to block it. According to reports in the Israeli press, Israel's navy has been training to stop and seize the vessels. In the last year, Israel has confiscated two humanitarian-relief vessels and their cargo, detained the passengers and then deported them to their home countries.  The Freedom Flotilla organizers say they are determined to continue to Gaza regardless of any threats.

“It’ll be like old home week,” said Meadors, recalling the Israeli attack he survived 43 years ago. "I'm determined to land with this internationally coordinated effort on the shores of Gaza to deliver relief to the 1.5 million inhabitants suffering under the Israeli-led illegal blockade."

John Ging, the Director of Operations of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza, recently called upon the international community to break the siege on the Gaza Strip by sending ships loaded with desperately needed supplies ."We believe that Israel will not intercept these vessels because the sea is open, and human rights organizations have been successful in similar previous operations proving that breaking the siege of Gaza is possible."

Explaining his decision to participate in the convoy, Ambassador Peck said many Americans oppose Israeli's oppressive policies in Palestine and especially Gaza, and believe that they are not in anyone's interests, especially Israel's. "All the peoples of the Middle East will live in peace and security", he said, "only when, and if, all of them live in peace and security."......

The people of the Gaza Strip have been under Israeli occupation and barred from trading by sea for 43 years. Since 2006 the 25-mile-long enclave has been subject to an ever-tightening Israeli siege, which has permitted only a trickle of supplies to enter. After the devastating Israeli assault of December 2008-January 2009, which wrecked the territory's infrastructure and economy, the international community pledged $4.5 billion in reconstruction assistance, but almost none of it has yet reached Gaza.

Backed by activists in 30 countries and organized by groups in Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Sweden, Malaysia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union as well as the U.S., the Freedom Flotilla is the biggest international effort yet to break the Israeli siege of Gaza. The Free Palestine Movement is the only US-based organization participating, although some Americans are also participating as part of other organizations.

For more information about the Free Palestine Movement, see

Boycott volunteers say army searching for them

Ma'an - Volunteers with the Palestinian Authority's House to House settlement goods boycott campaign said Israeli forces entered the Husan village, west of Bethlehem, searching for them.

Volunteer Ahmad Jaz'ul told Ma'an that four Israeli military jeeps "raided the village at 1pm in the afternoon, searching for the campaign's volunteers, stopping passer-bys and asking where we were."

"We hid our uniforms and ID cards. Some volunteers stayed hidden in their homes until the Israeli army withdrew," he added...

Approximately 3,000 volunteers are taking part in the PA's door-to-door settlement goods boycott campaign, which includes the distribution of pamphlets and guidelines on how to participate in the embargo, and encouraging West Bank residents to sign the Karama (dignity) pledge, vowing to halt all purchase of produce made on illegal settlements.  Full story

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Society says detainee in deteriorating health

Ma'an – The health of a detainee is swiftly deteriorating as a result of medical neglect, the Detainees' Society head said Wednesday.

Ragheb Abu Dyak said prisoner Khalil Musbah, who has been detained in the Shattah prison for the past eight years, has a critical intestine infection, which is worsening as a result of the Israeli Prison Services failure to allow Musbah access to medical care.

Musbah was sentenced to a 28-year term, and requires immediate surgery....  Full story

Gaza no-go zone rally dispersed by Israeli fire

Ma'an – Gaza residents continued to test Israel's no-go zone along the coastal enclave's northern border near Gaza City on Wednesday, with participants reporting being dispersed by live fire.

........Officials in Gaza say that up to 20 percent of the arable land in the Strip is consumed by the buffer area and have organized nearly bi-weekly rallies across the enclave in protest over land confiscation and restricted access for Palestinian farmers to their agricultural lands...  Full story

Israeli Soldiers Kidnap Several Children In Jerusalem just before graduation

IMEMC – Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Thursday, at dawn several Palestinian children, aged 16-18, in al-Suwwana area, near the walls of occupied East Jerusalem.....

....the soldiers broke into the homes of the youths and kidnapped them before moving them to al-Maskobiyya interrogation center in West Jerusalem.

...some of the kidnapped were supposed to celebrate school graduation this day.

...said that the arrests carried out just before graduation from school are a deliberate act aimed at depressing the youth.

He added that such arrests are also meant to impose psychological pressures on the youths and their families.  Full story

154,000 Palestinians Of Jerusalem Isolated From The City, Obstructing Education

Annexation Wall in Abu Dis - Jursalem, Image Palestine Remembered
The Annexation Wall in Abu Dis - Jursalem, Image Palestine Remembered

IMEMC – The al-Quds International Institution reported that the Israeli Authorities are continuing the construction of the annexation wall and Jewish settlements leading to the isolation of more than 154,000 Palestinians of the Jerusalem area from the city itself.
The wall is also obstructing the educational process in several Palestinian educational facilities east of the city as they became isolated behind the wall.

The Institution, based in Beirut, issued a report about education in Jerusalem in 2010 and stated that education holds a significant role in the Arab-Israeli conflict, especially in Jerusalem as Israel wants the Palestinians out of the city.

It added that the harsh social and economical conditions the Palestinians face in Jerusalem, and the illegal Israeli measures against them, are having a direct impact on school students and are pushing more students to quit school, in addition to have an impact on the issue of drug addiction among some residents.

The al-Quds Institution further stated that Israel discriminates between East and West Jerusalem schools, as it provides all sorts of services and financial aid to Jewish school in West Jerusalem, while Palestinians schools in East Jerusalem are struggling to survive.

Israel Obstructs Entry Of Medicine, Medical Equipment To Gaza

IMEMC - Saed Bannoura
Despite Israeli guarantees to the International Community, the Israeli Authorities are still obstructing the entry of medicine and medical equipment to the besieged Gaza Strip. The last time medicine was allowed into Gaza was mid October 2009.
Raed Fattouh, who heads a committee in charge of the entry of good into the Gaza Strip, stated that since mid October 2009 until this day, Israel has been obstructing the entry of all medical equipment and medications transferred from the West Bank to Gaza.

Some of the urgently needed equipment are CT scan machines, incubators and their equipment, heart machines, dialysis machines and other urgently needed equipment.....

....Fattouh said that the Palestinian Authority asked the World Health Organization and other international groups to intervene and pressure Israel into allowing the needed medical equipment. Full story

Palestinian Boy Injured By An Israeli Bomb In Gaza

IMEMC A Palestinian boy was injured on Tuesday night after a bomb left by the Israeli military exploded near him in Khan Younis City, southern Gaza Strip.

Hassan Abu Farahana, 16, years old, sustained moderate wounds from the explosion, doctors reported.

Farahana was playing at farm lands in the Qarrara area near Khan Younis when a bomb left by the army exploded near him, witnesses reported.

Qarrara are is the target of daily Israeli military invasions, troops try to evacuate the area from farmers to create the buffer zone at the borders between the Gaza Strip and Israel.

Israeli Troops Detain Women And Children In Northern West Bank

IMEMC – Six women and their children from the village of Araba, northern West Bank, were detained by Israeli troops on Tuesday evening.

The women and their children were collecting grab leaves from their lands close to the Mabo Do Than settlement built on villagers’ lands. Troops detained them, then moved them to a military site inside the settlement and kept them there until Wednesday at dawn.

An Israeli officer told the women not to come back to the land or they will face detention for a long time. Rice rolled in grab leaves is a very famous Palestinian dish during this time of year.

Araba village farm lands, mostly planted with vines, are surrounded by Israeli settlements.

There are half a million settlers living in Israeli settlement all over the West Bank. According to international law all those settlements are illegal.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Israel charged with 14 cases of sexual assault and threats to children - Defence for Children International

DCI - Palestine submits 14 cases of sexual assault and threats to the UN for investigation

On 18 May 2010, DCI-Palestine submitted 14 cases to the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture for investigation. The submission relates to the sexual assault, or threat of sexual assault, of Palestinian children at the hands of Israeli soldiers, interogators and police between January 2009 and April 2010. The ages of the children range from 13 to 16 years.

DCI-Palestine is becoming increasingly alarmed at reports contained in sworn affidavits received from children that they are being subjected to sexual assault, or threat of sexual assault, in order to obtain confessions.

DCI-Palestine has reviewed 100 sworn affidavits collected from children in 2009, and in four percent of cases, children report being sexually assaulted, whilst in 12 percent of cases, the children report being threatened with sexual assault. The sexual assault and threats of sexual assault documented by DCI-Palestine include grabbing boys by the testicles until they confess and threatening boys as young as 13 years with rape unless they confess to throwing stones at Israeli settler vehicles in the occupied West Bank. DCI-Palestine suspects that these figures may understate the extent of the problem.

In one of the cases documented by DCI-Palestine, a 15 year-old boy recalls his experience after being arrested by Israeli soldiers from his family home at 2am, in September 2009:
‘While sitting on the ground near the truck, a person speaking Arabic approached me and grabbed my hands and ordered me to stand up and accompany him. He grabbed me so violently and pulled me. He forced me to walk with him for about 20 metres and I could see from under the blindfold that we stopped behind a military jeep. He slapped me hard twice and grabbed my testicles so hard and started pressing them. Then, he asked me whether I threw stones and Molotov cocktails and I said I did not. He started shouting and saying ‘liar, your mother’s a c**t.’ He started beating me all over my body and once again he grabbed my testicles and started pressing hard. “I won’t let go of your testicles unless you confess,” he said to me. I felt so much pain and kept shouting. I had no other choice but to confess to throwing stones.’
Each year around 700 Palestinian children are arrested, interrogated and prosecuted in the Israeli military courts. The most common charge is for throwing stones. The children are interrogated in the absence of a lawyer and family members and in 2009, over 80 percent of these children provided confessions after a coercive interrogation, of which 32 percent were written in Hebrew, a language few Palestinian children understand. Following their conviction in the military courts, the majority of these children are incarcerated inside Israel in contravention of Article 76 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. 

DCI-Palestine is requesting that the Special Rapporteur investigates these and other reports relating to the apparent widespread and systematic ill-treatment of Palestinian children by Israeli authorities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and to publish the findings.

For further information please see DCI-Palestine's latest report on Palestinian child prisoners.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Israeli Police Attack Jerusalem’s Street Market

IMEMC - Israeli police officers attacked on Monday Palestinians street market at Jerusalem’s old city.

Police officers confiscated the kiosks and assaulted their owners. This market is one of the oldest markets in Jerusalem to sell food and vegetables...

Kiosk owners were arrested and taken to a police station in Jerusalem old city where they were given fines. Most owners could not pay the amount of money they were fined with, the sources added.  Full story

Professor Chomsky Denied Entry To The Country

IMEMC - The Israeli Authorities at the Allenby Bridge, between Jordan and Palestine, prevented professor Noam Chomsky from entering the Palestinian territories after detaining him for five hours, and deported him to Jordan...  Full story

Mother and her Two Children Wounded When Settler Rammed Vehicle Into Them

IMEMC - Palestinian medical sources in Bethlehem reported Saturday at night that a Jewish settler rammed his vehicle into a mother and her two girls in Al Jab’a village near Bethlehem, and fled the scene...

The sources identified the woman as Aneesa Hasan Al Tous, 35, and her two daughters Ro’a, 2 years old, and Nagham, 5.....

.....In a separate incident, resident Ahmad Al Alami, 22, from Beit Ummar town near Hebron, was also wounded after a settler rammed his vehicle into him. He was moved to Hadassah Israeli hospital in Jerusalem.  Full story

Ninth boat to join Freedom Flotilla to Gaza

Ma'an – A second boat will leave Ireland to join the Freedom Flotilla heading to Gaza...

The boat follows the MV Rachel Corrie, which raised anchor on Saturday, and will head to the Mediterranean port of Cyprus, where it will join the Rachel, three Turkish ships and five from Greece all heading toward the Gaza Port.

All nine boats are set to cast anchor at Gaza City's docks on 27 May, Al-Khudari said, following their rendezvous in Cyprus on 25 May.

The flotilla, organized by a coalition of groups from around the globe, will bring some 10,000 tons of reconstruction material, medical equipment and school supplies to the coastal region under siege.

Hundreds of activists protesting Israel's siege on Gaza will also be aboard the vessels, which will reportedly face a bevy of Israeli naval ships...  Full story

PA official home raided by Israeli forces

Ma'an – The Israeli army reportedly raided the home of Palestinian Authority Interior Ministry official on Sunday in Hebron, in the village of Su'eer, witnesses said.

General director of PA's ministry office in Hebron Kayed Jaradat's home was searched by Israeli soldiers, using sniffer dogs, witnesses said.

"Most of the home's contents were destroyed in the process," one onlooker told Ma'an... Full story

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Elena Kagan and the Supreme Court: the Israel Connection

Elena Kagan and the Supreme Court: A Barnyard Smell in Chicago, Harvard and Washington - James Petras
President Obama has nominated Elena Kagan for Justice of the United States Supreme Court on the basis of an academic publication record, which might give her a fighting chance for tenure at a first rate correspondence law school in the Texas Panhandle...
Prima facie evidence strongly suggests that Kagan’s ties to the staunchly Zionist faculty at both Chicago and Harvard Law Schools (and not her intellectual prowess) account for her meteoric promotions to tenure, deanship and now the US Supreme Court...

A review of her published scholarship after almost two decades in and out of academia turns up four law review articles, two brief pieces and several book reviews and in memoriam. There is nothing even remotely resembling a major legal text or research publication.

Her lack-luster academic publication record is only surpassed by her total lack of any practical experience as a judge: zero years in adjudication, unless one accepts the line of her exuberant advocates, who point to Kagan’s superb ability in adjudicating among the squabbling faculty at Harvard Law School when she served as Dean. No doubt Kagan had been very busy as the greatest fundraising Law School Dean in Harvard’s history ($400 million), which may account for the fact that she never found time to write a single academic article during her nine year tenure (2001-2009).

The criteria for her appointment to the Supreme Court have little to do with academic performance as it is understood today in all major universities. Nor does her total inexperience as a judicial advocate compensate for academic mediocrity.

The evidence points to a purely political appointment based, in part, on social networks and certainly not on her lack of affinity for the agenda of the liberal wing of the Democratic Party. Kagan’s approval of indefinite detention of suspects squares with the extremist restrictions on constitutional freedoms first articulated during the Bush Administration and subsequently upheld by President Obama’s Attorney General Eric Holder. It is no coincidence that Kagan appointed a notorious Bush torture advocate, the genial Jack Goldsmith, to the Harvard Law faculty.

Elena Kagan’s appointment certainly was not based on “diversity”. She will be the third Jew on the Supreme Court and, together with the six Roman Catholics, will decide the most critical cases with far-reaching and profound impact on citizens’ rights and protections. For the first time in US history the nation’s largest demographic group, the Protestants (of any hue or gender), will have no representative on the Court, thereby excluding the descendents, like retiring Justice Stevens, of the brilliant, strongly secular judicial heritage that formulated the US Constitution, the Bill of Rights and its amendments.

Kagan’s nomination to the US Supreme Court is not exceptional if we consider many of Bush and now Obama’s choices of advisers and officials in top policymaking posts. Many of these officials combined their diplomas from Ivy League universities with their absolutely disastrous performances in public office, which no amount of mass media puff pieces could obscure. These Ivy League mediocrities include the foreign policy advocates for the destructive and unending wars in the Middle East and Afghanistan and the leading economic advisers and officials responsible for the current financial debacles. The names are familiar enough: Wolfowitz, Feith, Abrams, Levey, Greenspan, Axelrod, Emmanuel, Indyk, Ross, Summers, Rubin, et al: Prestigious credentials with mediocre, or worse, performances. What is the basis of their rise? What explains their ascent to the most influential positions in the US power structure?

One hypothesis is nepotism... of a certain kind. Elena Kagan got tenure at the august halls of the University of Chicago in 1995 on the basis of one substantive article and one brief piece, neither outstanding. With this underwhelming record of legal scholarship, she became visiting professorship at the Harvard Law School, published only two more articles (one in Harvard Law Review) and received tenure. Prima facie evidence strongly suggests that Kagan’s ties to the staunchly Zionist faculty at both Chicago and Harvard Law Schools (and not her intellectual prowess) account for her meteoric promotions to tenure, deanship and now the US Supreme Court, over the heads of hundreds of other highly qualified candidates with far superior academic publication records and broader practical judicial experience.

The public utterances and political writings of innumerable Harvard, Princeton, Chicago, Yale, John Hopkins professors, whether it be on the speculative economy, Israel’s Middle East wars, preventative detention, broad presidential powers and constitutional freedoms are marked by a singular mediocrity, mendacity and an excess of hot air reeking of the barnyard.

If you do not qualify on the basis of excellent scholarship or broad-based practical experience, your ethnic tribesman will wax ecstatic over you as a “wonder colleague”, a “superb teacher”, a “brilliant consensus builder” and a “world champion fund raiser”. In other words, if you have the right ethnic connections and political ambitions, they can adjust the criteria for tenure at the University of Chicago, the deanship at Harvard Law School and a lifetime appointment to the US Supreme Court.

Elena Kagan joins a long list of key Obama appointees who have long-standing ties to the pro-Israel power configuration. Like Barack Obama, Elena Kagan started her legal apprenticeship with the Chicago Judge Abner Mitva, an ardent Zionist, who hailed the newly elected President Obama as “America’s first Jewish President”, probably his soundest judgment.

The issue of the composition of the US Supreme Court is increasingly crucial for all Americans, who are horrified by Israel’s devastation of Gaza, its threats to launch a nuclear attack on Iran and its Fifth Column’s efforts to drag us into a third war in ten years. With the Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations pressing the compliant US Congress to declare “anti-Zionism” as a form of “anti-Semitism” and “opposition to Israel’s policies” as amounting to “support for terrorism”, thus criminalizing Americans critical of Israel, another active pro-Zionist advocate on the Court will provide a legal cover for the advance of Zionist-dictated authoritarianism over the American people.

Yes, Kagan would be another woman on the Supreme Court. Yes, she would probably adjudicate conflicts among the judges and strengthen Obama’s police powers. And yes, she would likely favor your indefinite detention if you support the right of Palestinians to struggle (“terrorism”) against the Israeli occupation... especially if you defend America against Israel’s Fifth Column.

But remember when you apply for Ivy League law school appointment or a top judicial post and your CV lacks the requisite publications or work experience, just ask Judge Abner Mikva or Larry Summers or Rahm Emmanuel for a recommendation. With such support you will shoot ahead of the competition... because you have the right ethnic connections.   Full story 
James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York.  He is the author of more than 62 books published in 29 languages, and over 600 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, TempsModerne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried on the internet.

His publishers have included Random House, John Wiley, Westview, Routledge, Macmillan, Verso, Zed Books and Pluto Books. He is winner of the Career of Distinguished Service Award from the American Sociological Association's Marxist Sociology Section, the Robert Kenny Award for Best Book, 2002, and the Best Dissertation, Western Political Science Association in 1968. His most recent titles include Unmasking Globalization: Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century (2001); co-author The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America (2000), System in Crisis (2003), co-author Social Movements and State Power (2003), co-author Empire With Imperialism (2005), co-author) Multinationals on Trial (2006).

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Obama asks Congress for additional $205 million, on top of $3 billion to Israel

Al Jazeera - Obama urges funds for Israel shield
To Fund Israeli company 

Barack Obama, the US president, has asked Congress for $205m to help Israel speed up construction of a new short-range anti-missile defence system, White House aides have said.

The so-called "Iron Dome" project is designed to intercept rockets and artillery shells from the Gaza Strip and neighbouring Lebanon.......

...Produced by Israeli state-owned Rafael Advanced Defence Systems Ltd, the "Iron Dome" uses small radar-guided missiles to blow up Katyusha-style rockets with ranges of between five-70 kilometres, as well as mortar bombs, in mid-air.
Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said the funds sought from Congress would be the first direct US investment in the "Iron Dome" system....

According to the US state department, US military aid to Israel in 2009 totalled $2.55bn. This will increase to $3bn in 2012, and will total $3.15bn a year from 2013 to 2018.  Full story

A closer look at the group [founded by Jewish "convert" to Islam] behind the South Park controversy

By Maidhc O'Cathail

Muslims just can’t seem to take a joke. Or at least that’s what some would have you believe.

Like the contrived Danish cartoon controversy, the much-hyped Times Square car bomb incident provided an ideal opportunity for those who seek to make Islam look bad in the eyes of the world.

Before the arrest of Faisal “The Fizzler” Shahzad tied this latest botched terror plot to the Pakistani Taliban, some initial news reports suggested that it might have been the work of an Islamist group with a poor sense of humor – and an even poorer sense of direction. The fact that the fertilizer-laden SUV was parked “about one block from” Viacom headquarters led the Washington Post’s pro-Israel staff writers Jerry Markon and Anne Kornblut to speculate that it may have been retribution for a satire on the Prophet Mohammed shown on one of Viacom’s TV networks.

After Comedy Central aired an episode of the satirical cartoon South Park in April that depicted the prophet in a bear costume, its creators received veiled death threats from a New York-based group called Revolution Muslim. The threats were issued on the group’s Web site by Zachary Adam Chesser, who now goes by the name Abu Talhah al-Amrikee. 

Within days of the posting on the obscure Web site, Joshua Rhett Miller of did a story on it, in which he interviewed Chesser. “They’re going to be basically on a list in the back of the minds of a large number of Muslims,” the recent convert told Fox. “It’s just the reality.”

A few days later, Miller did a profile of Chesser, in which he described the 20-year-old as “the boy next door” with a “dark side.” Quoting an anonymous high school classmate, Miller informed Fox readers that Chesser – prior to his career as a humorless fundamentalist Muslim – was a “loner … who frequently drew pictures of Satanic figures in his notebooks.”

The hype over South Park was not the first time, however, that Rupert Murdoch’s stridently pro-Israel media had publicized Revolution Muslim’s provocations.

On March 26, 2008, trumpeted the group’s puerile puppet show mocking the 2002 beheading of a Jewish American journalist in Pakistan. “I could care less about Daniel Pearl,” group founder Yousef al-Khattab said in an interview with Fox. “I’m happy to see that he’s gone.”

In an Oct. 13, 2009, piece, Joshua Rhett Miller drew attention to a post by al-Khattab which asked Allah to murder the Jews and urged Muslims to “throw liquid drain cleaner in their faces.” In yet another interview with Miller, al-Khattab claimed that these outlandish statements reflected the “prayer of every true Muslim.”

On Nov. 8, 2009, Fox reported on Revolution Muslim’s tribute to Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the U.S. Army psychiatrist charged with the murder of 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas. This time it was another one of Murdoch’s titles, the New York Post, which interviewed al-Khattab after he wrote, “An officer and a gentleman was injured while partaking in a pre-emptive attack. Get well soon Major Nidal. We love you.”

In one of his articles, Joshua Rhett Miller mentioned, almost in passing, that the provocative al-Khattab is “an American-born Jew formerly known as Joseph Cohen who converted to Islam after attending an Orthodox rabbinical school.” An insignificant detail?  

The implausible story of Cohen’s implausible conversion was first told, it seems, in a most interesting venue: Israel’s leading right-wing English newspaper. Cohen, who moved with his wife and family from Brooklyn to Israel in 1998, was one of three people interviewed for a Nov. 25, 2005, Jerusalem Post feature on the spread of Islam among Israeli immigrants titled, perhaps ironically, “True Believers.”

While living in Netivot – the only town in Israel without a public high school due to the extreme influence there of the ultra-Orthodox Haredim – Cohen said he became disillusioned with Israeli secularism. “At that time I met this person on the Internet, a sheikh from UAE [United Arab Emirates], whom I met later on, and we started chatting and talking on the ’net,” Cohen told the Jerusalem Post. After two years of “theological dialogue” in a Jewish chatroom with the persuasive sheikh, Cohen was transformed from being a supporter of Shas – the ultra-racist political party of Mizrahi Haredi Jews – to a “sudden admirer of al-Qaeda and Hamas.”

Seemingly unable to interest “weak” Palestinian Muslims in his newly acquired brand of “pure” Islam, Cohen returned to New York to launch his online jihad for “the creation of an Islamic caliphate which will rule the world.” 

Having not so long ago believed that Jews had a God-given right to Palestine, Cohen is now saying that Muslims should rule the world. The zeal of the converted? Perhaps.

But it also conveniently confirms the Islamophobic propaganda of the likes of Daniel Pipes who try to scare Americans into fighting Israel’s wars with dire warnings that the Muslims are coming.

White House meets with rabbis to assuage concerns on Israel, Obama authorizes $205 million on top of $3 billion to Israel

JTA - Ron Kampeas
....two intimate White House meetings -- the second of which took place on Thursday -- with a carefully selected slate of 15 rabbis from across the country and representing the Orthodox, Reform and Conservative streams......

"I left with a clear impression that these individuals have a real passion about Israel," even if he did not agree with them on tactics, Goldberg said. Their interlocutors at the two meetings were high level: Dennis Ross, who runs Obama's Iran policy; Dan Shapiro, the deputy national security adviser who supervises policy for Israel and its neighbors; Susan Sher, the chief White House liaison to the Jewish community, and Emanuel....

The officials emphasized, for instance, the closeness of the defense relationship. On Thursday, as the rabbis were meeting with the staffers, for instance, the Obama administration authorized $205 million on top of the annual $3 billion in defense assistance for Israel to complete its Iron Dome short-range missile defense system.

The administration officials "spent a considerable amount of time emphasizing that the United States is addressing Israel's security concerns in a manner that [Israeli defense minister Ehud] Barak called better than at any previous time,” Moline reported.  Full story

The Career of Shimon Peres: Israel's Master of Deception

CounterPunch - Rannie Amiri
The international community has long been enamored by current Israeli President and former Prime Minister, Shimon Peres. Regarded as a voice of reason and a dove among hawks, he adroitly assuages fears and reassures critics with soothing, yet empty words advocating dialogue and the creation of a Palestinian state. By duping the world into believing significant differences exist between his “left wing” views and those of Israel’s far right, he has proven himself a master at deception.

US funds Israel’s 'apartheid' roads plan

Ma'an - Jonathan Cook - The construction of sections of a controversial segregated road network in the West Bank planned by Israel for Palestinians -- leaving the main roads for exclusive use by settlers -- is being financed by a US government aid agency, a map prepared by Palestinian researchers has revealed.

USAid, which funds development projects in Palestinian areas, is reported to have helped to build 114 kilometers of Israeli-proposed roads, despite a pledge from Washington six years ago that it would not assist in implementing what has been widely described as Israel’s “apartheid road” plan.

To date the agency has paid for the construction of nearly a quarter of the segregated road network put forward by Israel in 2004, said the Applied Research Institute of Jerusalem (ARIJ).

Elderly man killed by Israel forces, body "riddled with gunshot sounds"

Ma'an - Palestine Red Crescent Society ambulance retrieved the body of an elderly man on Saturday after he was reportedly shot dead by Israeli forces east of Gaza City, medics said.

Muawiya Hassanein, chief of ambulance and emergency services in Gaza, identified the deceased as 78-year-old Fuad Ahmad Matar, and that the evacuation was coordinated by Israeli forces who told Palestinian officials that the man had opened fire near the border area.

Hassanein said Matar's body was "riddled with gunshot wounds.".... Full story

Israeli Police Detains 30 Protestors In East Jerusalem

IMEMC - The Israeli police detained on Friday at least 30 protestors in Sheikh Jarrah Arab neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem. One protestor was evacuated to a Jerusalem hospital suffering cuts and bruises. Full Story

Palestinian Forcibly removed out of his home in Hebron, Israel claims home is owned by army

IMEMC - Israeli soldiers forcibly removed a Palestinian resident from his rented home in Al Shuhada Street, in the center of the southern West Bank city of Hebron, and claimed that the home is “owned” by the army.  Full story

Marking The 62 anniversary Of The Nakba AL Maíssara Protest The Wall

IMEMC - At least around 150 villagers along with Israelis and Palestinians gathered on Friday in the village of Al Ma'ssara, southern West Bank and protest the Israel wall.  Full story

Israeli Troops Attack The Wall Protest In Bilíin And Arrest One Journalist

Israeli troops arrested on Friday a journalist and attacked protesters with tear gas during the weekly anti wall protest at the village of Bilíin central West Bank.  Full story

Oregon newspaper Salem-News Under Attack for Israel Stories

False accusations of anti-Semitism are easily dismissed by those who know us; for those who don't, the only thing we're guilty of is honest reporting on a very hard topic.

(SALEM, Ore.) - People who are dialed into the news know that Israel struck the people of Gaza during the winter of 2008/2009 in an unprecedented military attack called "Operation Cast Lead" that killed more than 1400 people; primarily civilians, over 340 children among them. has been under attack in recent days in every imaginable public setting, because we tell the truth about Israel's military tactics, and oppression of the Palestinians.

The person attacking us claims that photos shown of Palestinian children killed in Gaza are "forged" when there are more published online than anyone could count.

We have said it a thousand times and I will say again now, that we engage this subject for the sake of humanity. We do not believe that any group has the right to subjugate, imprison, or eliminate another group of people.

We are accused of something that is utterly false; we are accused of being anti-Semitic, when the only thing we do is to report from the perspective of the oppressed, the unarmed, poverty stricken, hungry and tired people of Gaza.

We care because these people are under fire.

In fact, among the team of 52 writers, there is great diversity. Almost, if not every every race is represented. Regarding the three major religions; Christianity, Judaism and Islam, we have multiple writers, of each faith, and we have writers who are not religious at all.....

To those unfortunate people who have been drawn into the snare of an individual who has been viciously attacking us for two days by writing to our advertisers and stating untruths, I apologize. I hope they all understand that there is a machine in place that attacks us if we criticize Israeli policy.

The Future of Palestine: Righteous Jews vs. the New Afrikaners

Edited Transcript of Remarks by Professor John J. Mearsheimer
Transcript No. 327 (29 April 2010)

To view the video of this briefing online, go to

....My topic is the future of Palestine, and by that I mean the future of the land between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, or what was long ago called Mandatory Palestine.  As you all know, that land is now broken into two parts: Israel proper or what is sometime called “Green Line” Israel and the Occupied Territories, which include the West Bank and Gaza.  In essence, my talk is about the future relationship between Israel and the Occupied Territories.

Of course, I am not just talking about the fate of those lands; I am also talking about the future of the people who live there.  I am talking about the future of the Jews and the Palestinians who are Israeli citizens, as well as the Palestinians who live in the Occupied Territories.

The story I will tell is straightforward.  Contrary to the wishes of the Obama administration and most Americans – to include many American Jews – Israel is not going to allow the Palestinians to have a viable state of their own in Gaza and the West Bank.  Regrettably, the two-state solution is now a fantasy.  Instead, those territories will be incorporated into a “Greater Israel,” which will be an apartheid state bearing a marked resemblance to white-ruled South Africa.  Nevertheless, a Jewish apartheid state is not politically viable over the long term.  In the end, it will become a democratic bi-national state, whose politics will be dominated by its Palestinian citizens.  In other words, it will cease being a Jewish state, which will mean the end of the Zionist dream.

Let me explain how I reached these conclusions.

Given present circumstances there are four possible futures for Palestine.

The outcome that gets the most attention these days is the two-state solution, which was described in broad outline by President Clinton in late December 2000.  It would obviously involve creating a Palestinian state living side-by-side with Israel.  To be viable, that Palestine state would have to control 95 percent or more of the West Bank and all of Gaza.  There would also have to be territorial swaps to compensate the Palestinians for those small pieces of West Bank territory that Israel got to keep in the final agreement.  East Jerusalem would be the capital of the new Palestinian state.  The Clinton Parameters envisioned certain restrictions on the new state’s military capabilities, but it would control the water beneath it, the air space above it, and its own borders – to include the Jordan River Valley.

There are three possible alternatives to a two-state solution, all of which involve creating a Greater Israel – an Israel that effectively controls the West Bank and Gaza.

In the first scenario, Greater Israel would become a democratic bi-national state in which Palestinians and Jews enjoy equal political rights.  This solution has been suggested by a handful of Jews and a growing number of Palestinians.  However, it would mean abandoning the original Zionist vision of a Jewish state, since the Palestinians would eventually outnumber the Jews in Greater Israel. 

Second, Israel could expel most of the Palestinians from Greater Israel, thereby preserving its Jewish character through an overt act of ethnic cleansing.  This is what happened in 1948 when the Zionists drove roughly 700,000 Palestinians out of the territory that became the new state of Israel, and then prevented them from returning to their homes.  Following the Six Day War in 1967, Israel expelled between 100,000 and 260,000 Palestinians from the newly conquered West Bank and drove 80,000 Syrians from the Golan Heights.  The scale of the expulsion, however, would have to be even greater this time, because there are about 5.5 million Palestinians living between the Jordan and the Mediterranean.

The final alternative to a two-state solution is some form of apartheid, whereby Israel increases its control over the Occupied Territories, but allows the Palestinians to exercise limited autonomy in a set of disconnected and economically crippled enclaves.

It seems clear to me that the two-state solution is the best of these alternative futures.  This is not to say that it is an ideal solution, because it is not; but it is by far the best outcome for both the Israelis and the Palestinians, as well as the United States.  That is why the Obama administration is intensely committed to pushing it. 

Nevertheless, the Palestinians are not going to get their own state anytime soon.  They are instead going to end up living in an apartheid state dominated by Israeli Jews.

The main reason that a two-state solution is no longer a serious option is that most Israelis are opposed to making the sacrifices that would be necessary to create a viable Palestinian state, and there is little reason to expect them to have an epiphany on this issue.  For starters, there are now about 480,000 settlers in the Occupied Territories and a huge infrastructure of connector and bypass roads, not to mention settlements.