Archives: November 2003

Sun Nov 30, 2003

Noam Chomsky: Thorn in America's side

He's 'The Elvis Of Academia' and 'The Devil's Accountant'. A relentless thorn in America's side, Noam Chomsky has spent 50 years bringing his country's elite to account. Here, he talks to Tim Adams about genocide and genitalia


Posted by: Hazem on Nov 30, 03 | 4:05 am

Sat Nov 29, 2003

Amnesty International: The Case of a Rape Foretold

Amnesty International is primarily motivated not by human rights but by publicity. Second comes money. Third comes getting more members. Fourth, internal turf battles. And then finally, human rights, genuine human rights concerns.
-- Francis Boyle, Prof. of International Law and former board member of Amnesty International. [1]

Human Rights organizations used to play an important role raising awareness of human rights abuses, scoring an occasional point with one state or another, and were instrumental in releasing a handful of hapless prisoners. However, they have increasingly abdicated their role as modern-day paladins of justice, to become politically manipulated organizations that are more concerned with fundraising or appearing on TV. Several authors have described how human rights organizations have played a role in priming the propaganda pump prior to war; these accounts make sobering reading, and they dispel preconceptions about some of these organizations. [2] More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 29, 03 | 9:23 pm

Fri Nov 28, 2003

Only dictators ban broadcasts

Washington -- THE RAID by the U.S.-appointed Iraqi officials on an Arab television network bureau in Baghdad and the ban on its broadcasts hardly fits my idea of how to spread democracy in the Middle East.

Posted by: Hazem on Nov 28, 03 | 11:49 pm

The War on Higher Education

How will academe's leaders respond to the assault under way on its autonomy and professional integrity? Stanley Fish asks

Two columns ago, I analyzed "The College Cost Crisis," a report written (or at least signed) by U.S. Reps. John A. Boehner, an Ohio Republican, and Howard P. (Buck) McKeon, a California Republican, both members of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. I found the report (these are the words I used) misleading, shoddy, slipshod, superficial, meretricious, and worthless, and gave it a failing grade.

One would think it would be hard, even for Representatives Boehner and McKeon, to outdo that performance, but I underestimated their resourcefulness. The two anti-higher-education crusaders have now produced a Web site -- again at the taxpayers' expense -- and it earns all the adjectives I bestowed on their first effort plus one more: dishonest.

Posted by: Hazem on Nov 28, 03 | 11:08 pm

Universities return to aptitude exams to keep Arabs out

There's no politically correct spin to put on it, and the facts speak for themselves: As soon as Israel's top university administrators noticed that the big winners from admissions policy changes were not Jewish youngsters from low-income towns, but rather Arabs, they reverted back to the old admissions system. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Nov 28, 03 | 8:41 pm

Equal Partners?

It is amazing how amnesic the human mind is. Is it comfort or are we being fooled outright?

Never have we witnessed a more dramatic change in the interpretation of Israels occupation of Palestinian lands. Lands that have been taken over not once, but twice, leaving an ever shrinking occupied 22% of original Palestine. And this, against numerous UN resolutions declaring such action contrary to international law and calling for Israeli withdrawal. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 28, 03 | 5:26 pm

Smut-Finder General: The Dark Side of American Liberalism

Colin Kidd reviews Hellfire Nation: The Politics of Sin in American History by James Morone | Yale, 575 pp, £25.00

SOME aspects of the American political system can seem opaque and mysterious to the outsider. In particular, the Constitution, which British journalists regularly confuse with the Declaration of Independence, is calibrated so as to correct the arithmetical simplicities of an undifferentiated popular will. The Presidential election of 2000 introduced the world not only to the vagaries of the franchise in Florida, user-unfriendly butterfly ballots, and the arcana of chad - hanging, dimpled, pregnant and penetrated - but also to the constitutionally mandated authority of the Electoral College. Shadowy and spectral in its operations, the College proved decisive in the face of a narrow, but clear, national majority for the losing candidate. More recently, the State of California has presented another challenge to the straightforwardness of democracy as the rest of the world imagines it, with the proposal to recall an elected governor in possession of an unambiguous and unexpired democratic mandate.


Posted by: Hazem on Nov 28, 03 | 5:13 pm

Raise the curtain on a genuinely political act

In this time of war, we must reclaim from celebrities our right to make significant gestures and voice opinions in the public arena, argues Alan Read More...

Posted by: Hazem on Nov 28, 03 | 7:39 am

How British charity was silenced on Iraq

One of Britain's most high-profile charities was ordered to end criticism of military action in Iraq by its powerful US wing to avoid jeopardising financial support from Washington and corporate donors, a Guardian investigation has discovered. More...

Posted by: Hazem on Nov 28, 03 | 7:23 am

Thu Nov 27, 2003

University heads to form panel to fight academic boycott

Israeli academics will set up a new forum to fight the international academic boycott of Israel, the heads of the country's universities decided at a meeting Thursday with Minister for Diaspora Affairs Natan Sharansky. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Nov 27, 03 | 10:46 pm

Rasta poet publicly rejects his OBE

The leading poet Benjamin Zephaniah has publicly rejected an OBE from the Queen in protest at British government policies, including the decision to go to war in Iraq.

Writing exclusively in the Guardian today (http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,3604,1093962,00.html), Zephaniah breaks with the convention that those rejecting honours should do so privately when he openly dismissed the award as a legacy of colonialism.


Posted by: Hazem on Nov 27, 03 | 4:05 pm

Speech sparks more Iraq war debate

Former United Nations Weapons Inspector Scott Ritter spoke to an audience of about 300 Northwestern students and community members Monday night, sparking more than an hour of discussion and debate. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Nov 27, 03 | 12:41 am

Queen's fury as Bush goons wreck garden

THE Queen is furious with President George W. Bush after his state visit caused thousands of pounds of damage to her gardens at Buckingham Palace. More...

Posted by: Hazem on Nov 27, 03 | 12:02 am

Tue Nov 25, 2003

Abusing 'Anti-Semitism'

The eve of the Jewish New Year is an excellent occasion for what Jewish tradition calls Kheshbon Nefesh, or soul-searching on so-called "anti-semitism", which has now become the single most important element of Jewish identity. Jews may believe in God or not, eat pork or not, live in Israel or not, but they are all united by their unlimited belief in anti-semitism.

When a Palestinian kills innocent Israeli civilians, it's anti-semitism. When Palestinians attack soldiers of Israel's occupation army in their own village, it's anti-semitism. When the UN General Assembly votes 133 to 4 condemning Israel's decision to murder the elected Palestinian leader, it means that except for the US, Micronesia and Marshal Islands, all other countries on the globe are anti-semitic. Even when a pregnant Palestinian woman is stopped at an Israeli check-point and gives birth in open field, the only lesson to be learnt is that Ha'aretz journalist Gideon Levy – who reported two such cases in the past two weeks, one in which the baby died – is an anti-semite. More...

Posted by: Hazem on Nov 25, 03 | 11:44 pm

'I punched an Arab in the face'

Staff Sergeant (res.) Liran Ron Furer cannot just routinely get on with his life anymore. He is haunted by images from his three years of military service in Gaza and the thought that this could be a syndrome afflicting everyone who serves at checkpoints gives him no respite. On the verge of completing his studies in the design program at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, he decided to drop everything and devote all his time to the book he wanted to write. The major publishers he brought it to declined to publish it. The publisher that finally accepted it (Gevanim) says that the Steimatzky bookstore chain refuses to distribute it. But Furer is determined to bring his book to the public's attention. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 25, 03 | 5:58 pm

Osama University?

Neoconservative critics have long charged Middle Eastern studies departments with anti-American bias. Now they've enlisted Congress in their crusade. More...

Posted by: Hazem on Nov 25, 03 | 3:44 am

Mon Nov 24, 2003

Crossing the Divide

Do we use conversations about language as a proxy for racism? Is this the hidden agenda when Britons talk about refugees who "come to this country and don't even speak our language" or when Western academics discuss the tendency of Arabic speakers to over-exaggerate? These are some of the questions addressed by Edinburgh University's Professor Yasir Suleiman, currently working on the third of three books on linguistics and national identity in the context of the Middle East conflicts. More...

Posted by: Hazem on Nov 24, 03 | 5:20 pm

Why not invade Israel?

If rogue nations are to be brought into line by the US, shouldn’t Israel be punished for ignoring UN resolutions? Gerald Kaufman is just asking... More...

Posted by: Hazem on Nov 24, 03 | 1:51 pm

The Waiting Game

Three years ago, the acclaimed Egyptian novelist Ahdaf Soueif travelled through the West Bank to write a special report for G2. This month, she returned for the first time

Sunday October 19, the West Bank

I thought it was bad three years ago. Now the landscape itself is changed. New settlements spring up everywhere; more than 60 since I was here last. You can watch their metamorphosis from a handful of caravans, to some Portakabins, then basic bungalows and, finally, the bristling, concrete hilltop fortress that is an Israeli settlement. Hardly a Palestinian village exists without an Israeli settlement lowering down on it from above. Everywhere there is construction going on - illegally: wide, Israeli-only highways to connect the settlements to each other, great mounds of rubble and yellow steel gates to block the old roads between Palestinian villages. And there are people waiting; waiting with bundles, with briefcases, with babies, at gates, at roadblocks, at checkpoints, waiting to perform the most ordinary tasks of their everyday lives. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Nov 24, 03 | 12:23 pm

Sun Nov 23, 2003

An Alternative Future: An Exchange

In response to Israel: The Alternative (October 23, 2003)

To the Editors:

Tony Judt should be lauded for cutting through a forest of clichés ["Israel: An Alternative Future," NYR, October 23]. Refreshingly free from the usual cant about Israel's allegedly robust democracy, he makes a remarkable attempt to think through the long-term possibilities of a binational—and, of course, secure—state. Few who face the facts of recent history can doubt that if Israel persists in its current settlement policy, there will be no acceptable alternative to such a solution. The tragedy is that neither Sharon nor Arafat is likely to emulate the statesmanship and foresight of de Klerk or Mandela. The end result is more likely to resemble Zimbabwe than post-apartheid South Africa. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Nov 23, 03 | 4:25 pm

Israel: The Alternative

The Middle East peace process is finished. It did not die: it was killed. Mahmoud Abbas was undermined by the President of the Palestinian Authority and humiliated by the Prime Minister of Israel. His successor awaits a similar fate. Israel continues to mock its American patron, building illegal settlements in cynical disregard of the "road map." The President of the United States of America has been reduced to a ventriloquist's dummy, pitifully reciting the Israeli cabinet line: "It's all Arafat's fault." Israelis themselves grimly await the next bomber. Palestinian Arabs, corralled into shrinking Bantustans, subsist on EU handouts. On the corpse-strewn landscape of the Fertile Crescent, Ariel Sharon, Yasser Arafat, and a handful of terrorists can all claim victory, and they do. Have we reached the end of the road? What is to be done?

At the dawn of the twentieth century, in the twilight of the continental empires, Europe's subject peoples dreamed of forming "nation-states," territorial homelands where Poles, Czechs, Serbs, Armenians, and others might live free, masters of their own fate. When the Habsburg and Romanov empires collapsed after World War I, their leaders seized the opportunity. A flurry of new states emerged; and the first thing they did was set about privileging their national, "ethnic" majority—defined by language, or religion, or antiquity, or all three—at the expense of inconvenient local minorities, who were consigned to second-class status: permanently resident strangers in their own home.

But one nationalist movement, Zionism, was frustrated in its ambitions. The dream of an appropriately sited Jewish national home in the middle of the defunct Turkish Empire had to wait upon the retreat of imperial Britain: a process that took three more decades and a second world war. And thus it was only in 1948 that a Jewish nation-state was established in formerly Ottoman Palestine. But the founders of the Jewish state had been influenced by the same concepts and categories as their fin-de-siècle contemporaries back in Warsaw, or Odessa, or Bucharest; not surprisingly, Israel's ethno-religious self-definition, and its discrimination against internal "foreigners," has always had more in common with, say, the practices of post-Habsburg Romania than either party might care to acknowledge.

The problem with Israel, in short, is not—as is sometimes suggested—that it is a European "enclave" in the Arab world; but rather that it arrived too late. It has imported a characteristically late-nineteenth-century separatist project into a world that has moved on, a world of individual rights, open frontiers, and international law. The very idea of a "Jewish state"—a state in which Jews and the Jewish religion have exclusive privileges from which non-Jewish citizens are forever excluded— is rooted in another time and place. Israel, in short, is an anachronism. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Nov 23, 03 | 4:23 pm

We Are Paying The Price For An Infantile Attempt To Reshape The Middle East

November 21, 2003: (The Independent) It's the price of joining George Bush's "war on terror". They couldn't hit Britain while Bush was on his triumphalist state visit to London, so they went for the jugular in Turkey. The British consulate, the British-headquartered HSBC bank. London-abroad. And of course, no one -- least of all the Turks -- imagined they would strike twice in the same place. Turkey had already had its dose of attacks,
hadn't it?

Posted by: nachoua on Nov 23, 03 | 1:08 pm

I Know When Bush is Lying: His Lips Move

Shortly before the disastrous Bush visit to Britain, Tony Blair was at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday. It was an unusual glimpse of a state killer whose effete respectability has gone. His perfunctory nod to "the glorious dead" came from a face bleak with guilt. As William Howard Russell of the Times wrote of another prime minister responsible for the carnage in the Crimea, "He carries himself like one with blood on his hands." Having shown his studied respect to the Queen, whose prerogative allowed him to commit his crime in Iraq, Blair hurried away. "Sneak home and pray you'll never know," wrote Siegfried Sassoon in 1917, "The hell where youth and laughter go."
Blair must know his game is over. Bush's reception in Britain demonstrated that; and the CIA has now announced that the Iraqi resistance is "broad, strong and getting stronger", with numbers estimated at 50,000. "We could lose this situation," says a report to the White House. The goal now is to "plan the endgame".

Posted by: nachoua on Nov 23, 03 | 1:00 pm

Israel's Contempt for Tom

If my intelligent, courageous son, Tom, had not been left severely brain damaged by an Israeli soldier, he would have vouched for the fact that I am not prone to speechlessness. Words now fail me.

Two days ago, I received notification from my bank that the cheque sent by Israel's ambassador, for a fraction of the expenses incurred by the family for Tom's repatriation and for which we have had to wait five months, had not been honoured by the Bank of Israel. "Insufficient funds" was the reason given.


Posted by: Mona Baker on Nov 23, 03 | 9:28 am

Sat Nov 22, 2003

State sends bad check to peace activist shot by IDF

A Defense Ministry check, sent "without any admission of liability by the State of Israel and/or the Ministry of Defense" to the family of a International Solidarity Mission volunteer shot by an Israel Defense Forces soldier, bounced when the family tried to cash it earlier this week. The ISM volunteer was rendered incapacitated as a result of the gunshot wounds sustained last April. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Nov 22, 03 | 10:43 pm

Fri Nov 21, 2003

Scholars under Siege

Although they have tried to downplay it, Israeli universities and faculty members are growing increasingly concerned that the worldwide academic boycott will weaken both Israeli science and the peace camp itself. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Nov 21, 03 | 6:34 pm

Israel's anti-Semitism

The Israeli right stands guilty of more than hypocrisy when they accuse others of being anti-Semitic, writes Ibrahim Nafie

Israel and Zionist organisations are becoming increasingly dependent upon the charge of "anti- Semitism" as a political weapon. Individuals and organisations, indeed entire nations and societies, have found themselves so besmirched.

Anti-Semitism has a very precise definition. It refers to remarks or acts targeting the ethnic group termed Semites, which comprises both Jews and Arabs. Israeli and Zionist media and political forces have warped this definition in several ways. Above all they have manipulated the concept of Semitic ethnicity so as to apply to Jews alone, thereby enabling them to level the allegation of anti-Semitism against the Arabs in spite of the fact that they constitute the majority of the Semitic peoples. In addition, they have stretched the definition of anti-Semitism to include any criticism of Israel and Israeli policy. Thus, anyone who speaks out against the aggression and inhumane practices inflicted against the Palestinian people by Israeli occupation forces risks being branded "anti-Semitic".

Posted by: Mona Baker on Nov 21, 03 | 5:51 pm

BBC appoints Middle East tsar

The BBC has created a new senior editorial post to advise on its Middle East coverage, as the corporation continues to come under fire for alleged anti-Israeli bias.

Malcolm Balen, a former editor of the BBC's Nine O'Clock News, has been appointed "senior editorial adviser" based in London but working closely with the corporation's Middle East bureau in Jerusalem. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 21, 03 | 2:33 am

BBC appoints man to monitor 'pro-Arab bias'

The BBC has appointed a "Middle East policeman" to oversee its coverage of the region amid mounting allegations of anti-Israeli bias.

Malcolm Balen, a former editor of the Nine O'Clock News, has been recruited in an attempt to improve the corporation's reporting of the Middle East and its relationship with the main political players. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 21, 03 | 2:03 am

BBC sets up Mideast monitor

The BBC's appointment this week of a top broadcasting figure to oversee its Mideast coverage was welcomed by Israeli and Jewish community leaders as a recognition of their protests over alleged anti-Israeli bias.

In and unprecedented move, the corporation name Malcolm Balen, a former editor of the "Nine O'Clock News," to monitor its coverage of the region. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 21, 03 | 1:54 am

Tue Nov 18, 2003

Sami Al-Arian and the Dungeon: A Fable for Our Time?

When I was in preschool, I heard fairy tales about all-powerful kings who arbitrarily threw people into dungeons. When I was in Hebrew school, I learned how Jews were rounded up by rulers during times of instability. When I was in High School, I studied the American political system that guaranteed the rule of law.

I saw that rule of law working in the spring of 2002, when we offered a symposium on National Security and Civil Liberties. Our featured speaker, Professor Sami Al-Arian, made an impassioned plea for free speech. An immigrant, a professor, a leader of his Muslim community, Al-Arian had campaigned against the use of secret evidence in court, embracing the democratic guarantees of a constitution designed to protect the innocent. Professor Al-Arian had seen first hand the triumph of our most valued principles. At a time when Americans needed information about the growing number of Muslims in this country, he helped found a think-tank devoted to the study of Islam in America. When his co-founder disappeared and later reappeared in Syria as a leader in Islamic Jihad, Al-Arian underwent months of investigation before being cleared of all involvement with terrorist organizations. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 18, 03 | 9:45 pm

"Welcome to Vietnam, Mr. President"

As White House denials grow insistent, some of the sharpest thinkers of the Vietnam generation see stark parallels with the war in Iraq.17 November. Helicopters are blown out of the sky by unseen enemies. Car bombs are detonated by guerrillas who seem to melt into the night. Casualties among U.S. troops and their allies are mounting by the day, and so are worry and mistrust among American voters. In Washington, top officials in the administration of George W. Bush insist there's no comparison between Iraq and Vietnam -- yet to judge by their actions, they have recently come to the nightmare realization that the parallels are real. More...

Posted by: peace/justice on Nov 18, 03 | 4:27 pm

Sun Nov 16, 2003

Ya'alon's 70 Virgins

What has happened to the Chief-of-Staff, Lieutenant-General Moshe ("Bogie") Ya'alon?

Until recently, he was the most aggressive hawk in the army, perhaps in the whole country. Suddenly he is almost turning into a dove.

Has he had a divine revelation like Rabbi Saul of Tarsus, who went to Damascus to persecute the Christians and arrived there as an apostle of Jesus?


Posted by: peace/justice on Nov 16, 03 | 6:36 pm

Turkey responds to activities of Jewish backed Kurdish Credit Bank with Ziraat Bank

ISTANBUL - The Turkish government will take precautions against an increase in banking activities and the purchase of land in northern Iraq. The Turkish government plans to respond to activities of "Kurdish Credit Bank" which grants loans to Kurdish people to purchase land belonging to the Arab and Turkmen people in northern Iraq, by opening a branch of the Turkish state-owned Ziraat Bank in the region.

The Iraqi Turkmen Front (ITC) Ankara Representative Ahmet Muratli said that they have discovered that Israel was behind these banking activities in the region. He said he immediately informed the Turkish government about these activities several months ago and as a result they persuaded state-owned Ziraat Bank to become active in the region. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 16, 03 | 4:52 pm

Bush and Blair - the betrayal

Tony Blair, about to welcome George Bush to London with pomp and circumstance, has assumed the mantle of tutor to the unlearned president.

Bush originally came to Blair determined to go to war in Iraq, but without a strategy. Blair instructed him that the casus belli was Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction, urged him to make the case before the UN, and - when the effort to obtain a UN resolution failed - convinced him to revive the Middle East peace process, which the president had abandoned. The road map for peace was the principal concession Blair wrested from him. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 16, 03 | 4:45 pm

Confronting the Evangelical Imperialists

In mid-October, my email in-box began to receive forwards from Michael Bednar, a graduate student in the department of history at the University of Texas, Austin. The subject line suggested that it was an email joke: "Congress moves to regulate postcolonial studies." More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Nov 16, 03 | 1:20 pm

Sat Nov 15, 2003

Ex-Security Chiefs Turn on Sharon

JERUSALEM, Nov. 14 -- Four former chiefs of Israel's powerful domestic security service said in an interview published Friday that the government's actions and policies during the three-year-old Palestinian uprising have gravely damaged the country and its people.

The four, who variously headed the Shin Bet security agency from 1980 to 2000 under governments that spanned the political spectrum, said that Israel must end its occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, that the government should recognize that no peace agreement can be reached without the involvement of the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, and that it must stop what one called the immoral treatment of Palestinians. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 15, 03 | 11:14 pm

Fri Nov 14, 2003

The Sabotage of Democracy


The hastily called conference at the White House involving America's top man in Baghdad, L. Paul Bremer, clearly revealed that the Bush administration knows its program in Iraq is failing. The "Iraqification" of the security forces has not dimmed the rate or deadliness of attacks against coalition troops; the Iraqi Governing Council has willfully stalled the process of drafting a new constitution; a new American intelligence report leaked to the press indicates that Iraqis are increasingly angry with the American presence. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Nov 14, 03 | 2:47 pm

Thu Nov 13, 2003

Amnesty International & Israel: Say itis't so!

Any organization fighting torture and other human rights abuses deserves our support. A recognized leader in this fight is Amnesty International (AI), helping people escape with their lives or avoid torture for decades. Given AI's track record and its role as a human rights monitor, one must be careful leveling criticism against it. But one can no longer be silent about AI's stance regarding Israel and Palestine.

This article analyzes Amnesty's entire public record and stance during the current intifada (Sep. 2000 thru Sep. 2002). It is an analysis of a meager record of 83 press releases and six reports . It reveals the following shortcomings and questions about its stance. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 13, 03 | 8:19 pm

Union leaders call on BBC to reinstate sacked Arab producers

Fifteen of Britain's top trade union leaders have issued a joint call for BBC Director General, Greg Dyke, to reinstate two sacked journalists.

The union leaders, who include Sir Bill Morris, Tony Woodley, Billy Hayes and Michael Leahy have called for the BBC to enter talks with the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) and negotiate the reinstatement of two Arabic Service producers sacked by the BBC on the eve of the war in Iraq. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 13, 03 | 6:29 pm


BISHOP DESMOND TUTU, the South African Nobel Prize winner, described how he saw on his visit to Israel "much like what happened to us black people in South Africa. I have seen the humiliation of the Palestinians at checkpoints and roadblocks, suffering like us when young white police officers prevented us from moving about" (1).

Comparisons between apartheid South Africa and Israel/Palestine have often been made, but not always clearly explained. Many factors have made the comparison attractive.


Posted by: admin on Nov 13, 03 | 3:59 pm

The Silence of Writers

For the great writers of the 20th century, art could not be separated from politics. Today, there is a disturbing silence on the dark matters that should command our attention.

Posted by: nachoua on Nov 13, 03 | 1:15 am

APME requests Pentagon halt harassment of media in Iraq

Mr. Larry Di Rita
Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs
The Pentagon

Dear Mr. Di Rita:

We are writing to protest actions being taken by U.S. troops that appear intended to discourage journalists from covering the continued military action in Iraq. During the past three months, journalists have been harassed, have had their lives endangered and have had digital camera disks, videotape and other equipment confiscated. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 13, 03 | 12:19 am

U.S. Troops More Hostile With Reporters

BAGHDAD, Iraq - With casualties mounting in Iraq, jumpy U.S. soldiers are becoming more aggressive in their treatment of journalists covering the conflict.

Media people have been detained, news equipment has been confiscated and some journalists have suffered verbal and physical abuse while trying to report on events. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 13, 03 | 12:09 am

Tue Nov 11, 2003

Facility 1391: Israel’s Guantanamo

FACILITY 1391, a concrete fortress in central Israel on a rise overlooking a kibbutz, is almost obscured by high walls and fir trees. Two watchtowers give armed guards extensive views of surrounding fields. From the outside it looks like many other police stations built by the British in the 1930s across the Mandate of Palestine. Today many serve as military bases, their location revealed by signposts showing only a number. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 11, 03 | 9:15 pm

Blueprint for a Mess

On the streets of Baghdad today, Americans do not feel welcome. United States military personnel in the city are hunkered down behind acres of fencing and razor wire inside what was once Saddam Hussein's Republican Palace. When L. Paul Bremer III, head of the Coalition Provisional Authority, leaves the compound, he is always surrounded by bodyguards, carbines at the ready, and G.I.'s on patrol in the city's streets never let their hands stray far from the triggers of their machine guns or M-16 rifles. The official line from the White House and the Pentagon is that things in Baghdad and throughout Iraq are improving. But an average of 35 attacks are mounted each day on American forces inside Iraq by armed resisters of one kind or another, whom American commanders concede are operating with greater and greater sophistication. In the back streets of Sadr City, the impoverished Baghdad suburb where almost two million Shiites live -- and where Bush administration officials and Iraqi exiles once imagined American troops would be welcomed with sweets and flowers -- the mood, when I visited in September, was angry and resentful. In October, the 24-member American-appointed Iraqi Governing Council warned of a deteriorating security situation.

Posted by: Mona Baker on Nov 11, 03 | 7:54 pm

Fri Nov 07, 2003

US will deny aid to countries that refuse court immunity deals

The United States aims to secure agreements "with every country in the world" guaranteeing immunity for its citizens from any prosecution from the new International Criminal Court (ICC), and will cut off military aid to countries which do not comply.

In an uncompromising defence of Washington's decision to shun the court, Under Secretary of State John Bolton announced yesterday that the US has already reached so-called Article 98 exemption agreements, under the Rome statutes setting up the ICC, with 70 countries; 50 of them among the ICC's 90 signatories. More...

Posted by: peace/justice on Nov 07, 03 | 9:13 am

Wed Nov 05, 2003

When Did "Arab" Become a Dirty Word?

Is "Palestinian" now just a dirty word? Or is "Arab" the dirty word? Let's start with the late Edward Said, the brilliant and passionate Palestinian-American academic who wrote--among many other books--Orientalism, the ground-breaking work which first explored our imperial Western fantasies about the Middle East. After he died of leukaemia last month, Zev Chafets sneered at him in the New York Daily News in the following words: "As an Episcopalian, he's ineligible for the customary 72 virgins, but I wouldn't be surprised if he's honoured with a couple of female doctoral graduates." More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 05, 03 | 4:05 pm

Gaza Strip: Israel's laboratory

At first glance, al-Siyafah may seem like nothing more than a lifeless desert worthy of just passing attention.

Dry sandy hills stretch out for several kilometres in all directions, interrupted only by the occasional obstinate bush of wildflowers. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Nov 05, 03 | 2:29 pm

Tue Nov 04, 2003

Oxford professor is suspended for rejecting Israeli student

An Oxford University professor who rejected a student because he was Israeli was suspended from the university yesterday and ordered to undergo equal opportunities training. In an unusual public statement spelling out the results of disciplinary proceedings, the university said Andrew Wilkie, an eminent pathology professor, would be banished from the institution for two months without pay. Pembroke College later announced that the academic had resigned as a fellow and as a member of its governing body. Professor Wilkie was disciplined by the university after telling Amit Duvshani, a Masters student at Tel Aviv University who applied to work in his laboratory towards a PhD, that he would not be considered because of the Israeli government's policy towards Palestinians. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 04, 03 | 2:04 am

Sun Nov 02, 2003

UK professor suspended for Israeli ban

One of Britain's most prestigious centres of learning has suspended a professor who rejected an Israeli student's application, reportedly because of the Jewish state's mistreatment of Palestinians.

The University of Oxford on Monday suspended Andrew Wilkie without pay for two months after he told Amit Duvshani there was "no way" he would accept someone who had served in the Israeli army. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 02, 03 | 9:40 pm

Arab-Israeli politics split UK campuses

The decision by Oxford University to suspend a professor without pay for two months for refusing to teach a former Israeli soldier has ratcheted up campus tensions and may spark an academic rebellion.

Andrew Wilkie, a pathology expert at the prestigious Pembroke College, was suspended on Monday and told to undergo equal opportunities training after he told Amit Duvshani, a masters student at Tel Aviv University: “No way would I take on someone who has served in the Israeli army”. More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 02, 03 | 9:34 pm

The Cancer Cells

In the Six-Day War, hundreds of Israeli soldiers were murdered while storming the Sinai desert, the West Bank and the Golan heights.

In the Yom-Kippur War, more than 2000 Israeli soldiers were murdered in the defense of the conquered territories.

In the 18 year long Lebanon War, more than a thousand Israeli soldiers were murdered while conquering and occupying South Lebanon.

They would have been surprised to learn that they were "murdered". Perhaps they would have been insulted. After all, they were not helpless Jews in the ghetto who were killed during a pogrom by drunken Cossacks. They fell as soldiers in war.

Posted by: Mona Baker on Nov 02, 03 | 11:53 am

Sat Nov 01, 2003

Interview: Amnesty on Jenin

Dennis Bernstein and Dr. Francis Boyle Discuss the Politics of Human Rights

Editor's Note

It has often been said that Amnesty International's agenda tends to fit nicely with the political needs of the United States and Great Britain. Around the world, supporters of the Nicaraguan people's struggle for self-determination were outraged by the timing of a 1986 Amnesty report critical of the Sandinista government, which helped Reagan push another Contra Aid appropriation through a reluctant congress, at exactly the moment when the anti-Contra movement was beginning to get serious political traction.

With regard to South Africa's apartheid regime, AI was critical of the human rights record of the South African government. However, as you will see below, AI never condemned apartheid per se. By the time Amnesty endorsed the Hill & Knowlton nursery tale concerning Kuwaiti infants pulled from incubators by Iraqi soldiers, many otherwise sympathetic observers of Amnesty's work became increasingly alarmed.

More than a decade of grassroots organization within Amnesty's membership base finally succeeded just two years ago in moving the organization to take a position critical of the genocidal sanctions against the people of Iraq, sanctions which have killed approximately a million and a half Iraqis, one third of them children. According to Dr. Boyle, this was political, and it clearly served the interests of the U.S. and Britain, the two governments on the Security Council preventing the lifting of the sanctions.

A recent search of internet shows that AI Venezuela very quickly took up the U.S. line by charging President Chavez with crimes against humanity for the bloodshed during the recent failed coup attempt against his administration. Amnesty's performance on the April massacre at Jenin is another blot on its frequently laudable record. As our readers are aware, the United Nations attempted to investigate the Jenin massacre, but was prevented from doing so by Sharon and Bush. The announcement on May 3[, 2002] by Human Rights Watch of “no massacre at Jenin” effectively killed the story, although there was a lot of argument about what constitutes a massacre. No such arguments were heard when a suicide bomber turned a Passover dinner into a tragedy.

This magazine will cover the topic of Human Rights Watch in a future issue. For this issue, we were fortunate to be forwarded the transcript of a June 13th [2002] interview with Dr. Francis A. Boyle, professor of International Law and former board member of AI. What follows is a shortened version of the transcript. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Nov 01, 03 | 5:18 pm

Website Bars Israelis

A British website that barred Israelis from entering one of its competitions has been forced to issue a retraction after receiving a deluge of complaints.

In a giveaway running this month, ukhotmovies.com invited visitors to compete to win the top prize of a DVD box set of popular animated comedy series The Simpsons.

But the site’s terms and conditions stated the competition was “open to film fans worldwide except inhabitants of Israel and Serbia.” More...

Posted by: admin on Nov 01, 03 | 2:38 pm

Silenced witnesses

James Miller taught my children to surf. Together, the two of us went to Kosovo, Chechnya and Zimbabwe. He was funny, decent to the core, a genius behind the camera lens. Together, we celebrated winning a Royal Television Society gong by having one shandy too many. I fell into an argument with an irritating cove in a penguin suit. James stepped in, threatening to take said cove outside and sort him out. At which point, some PR floozie whispered in my ear: "Do you know who that is?" No. "It's the head of ITV." Don't watch it much anyway. James and I had so much fun and, occasionally, we did the work.

I was in Baghdad when I heard the news. He had been shot in Rafah, at the fag-end of the Gaza Strip, and was dead.

I phoned his widow Sophy immediately, and wept buckets. When the BBC decided to investigate James's killing, they asked me to report for the film. I couldn't say no. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Nov 01, 03 | 11:00 am

The changing face of Hanan Ashrawi

NO-ONE in Australia has had more contact with Dr Hanan Ashrawi than I. In the 1990s, as president of Australian Legal Resources International (ALRI), a non-government corporation of judges and lawyers assisting countries in transition to democracy, I instituted a program in the Palestinian territories in support of the rule of law.

Known as the Rule of Law Assistance Program for the Palestinians (ROLAP), it lasted almost five years and would still be in place were it not for the impossible security situation. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Nov 01, 03 | 10:49 am