Archives: February 2004
Sat Feb 28, 2004
Israel: The Threat from Within
A recent front-page New York Times article on Condoleezza Rice's role in shaping US foreign policy reported that in the spring of 2002, when violence was escalating between Israel and the Palestinians, President Bush asked the following of Dr. Rice: Beyond the question of whether the US is "pushing this party hard enough or that party hard enough," what is the "fundamental problem" that has defeated all previous peace initiatives and continues to stand in the way of a political agreement? More...
Fri Feb 27, 2004
The Wars of the Texas Succession
American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush
by Kevin Phillips
Viking, 397 pp., $25.95
The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O'Neill
by Ron Suskind
Simon and Schuster, 348 pp., $26.00
Here's a true story that came too late to make it into Kevin Phillips's American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush, but it fits perfectly with its thesis. As all the world knows, Halliburton, the company that made Dick Cheney rich, has been given multibillion-dollar contracts, without competitive bidding, in occupied Iraq. Suspicions of profiteering are widespread; critics think they have found a smoking gun in the case of gasoline imports. For Halliburton has been charging the US authorities in Iraq remarkably high prices for fuel—far above local spot prices. More...
Studies at Bar-Ilan University's Regional Colleges
Comment: this is an example of the extensive involvement of Israeli academic institutions in perpetuating and legitimising the occupation and dispossession of Palestinians. Some of the regional colleges referred to below are built on illegal settlements (Ariel, for instance), and references to Judea and Sumaria betray the commitment of Bar-Ilan to the Zionist project (these are Zionist names for the West Bank). More...
Thu Feb 26, 2004
From The Inside Looking Out: The Sad Sounds Of Silence
(Hebron, West Bank, Palestine, February 24, 2004) An elemental CPT undertaking in Hebron is to take the thankfully never-ending stream of requesting fact-seeking visitors from around the world on exploratory tours of its dying Old City. We do that in order to help them comprehend the extent of the harm and never ending peril to Palestinian lives and livelihood that has been taking place in the heart of old Hebron's once thriving main commercial and residential area. More...
Depleted Uranium : The Crime that has no End
YellowTimes.org) – The international dispatches about the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq - replete with graphic details about overcrowded hospitals, U.S. cluster bomb shrapnel buried in the flesh of children, babies deformed by U.S. depleted uranium, farms and markets destroyed by U.S. bombs – do not make pleasant reading. The mounting evidence from the invasion of Iraq establishes what many Americans may not want to face: that the highest leaders of our land violated many international agreements relating to the rules of war. Unless we address the war crimes of the Bush administration - and the prima facie evidence is overwhelming - we betray our conscience, our country, and our own faith in democracy. More...
Conspiracy fans can have a field day if Sen. John Kerry wins the Democratic nomination for president, as it appears at this time he will.
The Dancing Bear
Once upon a time there was a popular kind of street show: a bear would dance for the amusement of passers by, who would throw coins into his box. The bear was big and frightening, but his clumsy movements made people laugh. He was much stronger than his master, who kept him on a chain, but submitted to him completely. A wonder to behold.
Wed Feb 25, 2004
The Israeli army's house philosopher
In France, it took four decades after the withdrawal from Algeria before the old soldiers and men of letters began to bravely and sincerely question actions of the French army during its attempts to put down the Algerian revolt.
The process yielded quite a few publications, including many admissions of immoral actions that led to the unnecessary deaths of thousands of innocent Algerians and to prolonged feelings of victimization in the civil population. In another decade or two, when a similar process begins here, and high-ranking officers and men of letters begin to examine the implications of our policy in the territories, they will no doubt pinpoint a single article written by a general and a philosopher, as a significant and very worrying watershed. More...
Stand up for the truth on Iraq, before it's too late
A reliable source, intimate with the devious art of political spinning in Downing Street tells me they are well pleased in that active hive. The past two weeks have been bloody marvellous; the media circus has moved on. Time to stop looking backwards, directs Tony Blair, let us go forth to the future. Hutton, Iraq, WMD are so passi, so yesterday. Calls on us to "move on" always come from perpetrators of bad policies and disastrous actions; victims are never in such haste to bury their pain. More...
Tue Feb 24, 2004
Boim: Is Palestinian terror caused by a genetic defect?
Deputy Defense Minister Ze'ev Boim, addressing the issue of why much of local, regional and world terrorism is directed by extremist Muslims, asked Tuesday, "What is it about Islam as a whole and the Palestinians in particular? Is it some form of cultural deprivation? Is it some genetic defect? There is something that defies explanation in this continued murderousness." More...
Jewish defense group settles S.F. spying suit
San Francisco -- A lawsuit accusing the Anti-Defamation League of spying on local activists -- the last court action stemming from San Francisco police raids on the Jewish organization's office 10 years ago -- has been settled for $178,000, lawyers said yesterday.
The money will be divided among the remaining three plaintiffs in a suit that was filed in 1993 by 19 people, all involved in pro-Palestinian or anti- apartheid activity. At the time, Israel was an ally of South Africa's white- supremacist government, and the ADL's chief intelligence-gatherer in the Bay Area, Roy Bullock, later admitted he was also being paid by South Africa. More...
Mon Feb 23, 2004
A Wall as a Weapon
02/23/04: (New York Times) CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — It is a virtual reflex for governments to plead security concerns when they undertake any controversial action, often as a pretext for something else. Careful scrutiny is always in order. Israel's so-called security fence, which is the subject of hearings starting today at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, is a case in point.
Sun Feb 22, 2004
Chairman Shteinitz: According To Our Schedule, Not Theirs
Note: Dr. Yuval Steinitz is a member of Professors for Strong Israel (http://www.professors.org.il/), a racist, pro-settlements academic group.
Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Yuval Shteinitz, told Arutz-7 today that he agrees with the Cabinet decision made last night not to do anything and to essentially wait until after the Iraqi war:
Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Yuval Shteinitz, a resident of Haifa, told Arutz-7 today that he agrees with the decision made last night not to do anything and to essentially wait until after the Iraqi war: "I don't like this pattern of 'they attack, we attack.' What, when we thwart 40 attacks in the period of a few weeks, we do nothing, and then when one attack finally succeeds, suddenly we retaliate? There is a Palestinian Authority, and its people, that is waging a war against us, and we have to fight them on our own schedule, not on theirs. If we automatically retaliate when they attack, it would mean that when they stop, we must also stop, and then instead of firing Kassams and shells, they'll just manufacture them, improving and increasing their range and preparing for all-out war. We have to fight against them whether their weapons are firing or are merely on hold." More...
PM´s Office Rejects HaLevy Plan For PLO State
Prime Minister Sharon's office has given a cold shoulder to a new plan by National Security Council chief Ephraim HaLevy for a plan to recognize a Palestinian state in exchange for the waiving of the “Right of Return” claim.
The head of the National Security Council, former Mossad chief Ephraim HaLevy, has proposed a plan for Israel to recognize and support the establishment of a Palestinian state - provided that the Arabs waive their claim to a “Right of Return” for Arab refugees of 1948 and their descendants.
Mitzpeh Yishai Dedicated
Yesterday evening (Sunday), a new neighborhood of Kedumim, Mitzpeh Yishai, was dedicated. As reported by Arutz-7 on Friday, the neighborhood has thirty housing units already occupied, another 70 are under construction, and yet another 400 are in the planning stages.
As more than 600 people celebrated the new neighborhood, several dozen left-wing activists arrived at the Shomron community to protest the continued presence of Jewish towns in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, as well as the unceasing growth in those communities. The protesters were at one point jovially invited by the celebration’s m.c. to come and live in Mitzpeh Yishai. More...
Petition issued to court against outpost removal
A pro-settlement group called the Professors for a Strong Israel petitioned the High Court against evacuation orders of four illegal outposts.
The petitioners claim that the orders are illegal and infringe on their basic civil rights. More...
Fighting The Dismantlings In The Courts
"Professors for a Strong Israel" has filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the orders to uproot unauthorized outposts in Yesha (Judea and Samaria). The orders were decided upon by Prime Minister Sharon and Defense Minister Mofaz, and the petition will be heard this Monday. More...
ISRAELI ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH
"Academic Freedom" and "Truth" are the most important aspects of life in higher learning institutions, where civilization is preserved and progresses. Indeed, I cherish these values and exercised them during the first 20 years of service at Ben-Gurion University. Then, when the Oslo era hit us, all this has changed completely. Many of us, who opposed the so-called "Oslo-PiPi" (Peace Process), were too nave to realize what was going on, but reality slowly sobered us up. It was recognized that betraying one's truth was apparently the easiest way to be promoted, particularly in Faculties where issues are least rigorous such as Humanities and Social Sciences. As a member of the Natural Sciences Faculty, I was not aware of this issue until the "Merry Days" of Oslo, when the Bolshevik mood prevailing in the so-called Humanities Faculty has penetrated the exact sciences (Natural, Engineering and Medical). My attention was captured when I realized that major essential assets and interests for the survival of Israel were 'sold away' by colleagues, perhaps for gaining some temporary and questionable personal "Fame and Fortune" among our worst enemies abroad. More...
Sat Feb 21, 2004
Buses and Buntustans at The Hague
The Palestinians are likely to win the legal debate over Israel's separation wall in the World Court next week. But Tel Aviv has more leverage outside the courtroom. Amira Howeidy wonders who will have the last laugh
Chagrined by the expected condemnation by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of the separation wall Israel is building on occupied Palestinian land, Tel Aviv on Friday announced it will not appear at the oral hearings at The Hague next week. To Palestinian officials like Nabil Abu Rodayna, advisor to Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Yasser Arafat, this is an admission that the "Israelis cannot face the international community and international law and justice."
Press Freedom under Fire
YellowTimes.org) – If the first casualty of war is truth, then the War on Terror has dealt a body blow to those trying to get at the bottom of the story: journalists. More...
Rome and Jerusalem revisited
A crucial goal of Zionism since its inception was to transform European (and later other) Jews into European Christians culturally, while continuing to call them Jews. Joseph Massad* steps into the Benny Morris debate
In his recent interview with the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz Benny Morris's tone was full of exhilaration, the kind of exhilaration of someone who is finally liberated from societal constraints that forced him to be dishonest, or at least untrue to himself and his audience. In his interview, Morris defended on moral grounds the expulsion and massacres of Palestinians based on a racial and civilisational binary that divides the civilised from the barbarians. His statements shocked many. Yet the moral arithmetic he deployed was anything but new in Zionist ideology. What accounts then for Morris's new statements and the shock with which they were received in the international community? More...
The Only Democracy in the Middle East?
Anyone who follows the news has no doubt come across the claim that "Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East." Usually, this claim is followed by its logical inference: "As an island of freedom located in a region controlled by military dictators, feudal kings and religious leaders, Israel should receive unreserved support from western liberal states interested in strengthening democratic values around the globe." More...
Fri Feb 20, 2004
The Bush Dynasty's Dark Magic
Review of American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush by Kevin Phillips
People like Kevin Phillips aren't supposed to exist anymore. In a country that's become "two nations," this time not black and white but Red and Blue, conservatives rarely engage with liberals (unless it's to lampoon or attack them), let alone read their publications, reckon with their arguments, or -- perish the thought! -- even agree with them. But here comes Phillips, the renowned Nixon White House strategist who wrote "The Emerging Republican Majority" in 1969, a Nixon/Reagan/John McCain kind of Republican, with the most damning book to date about the Bush administrations (yes, that's plural), American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush.
Thu Feb 19, 2004
SACKINGS IN THE BBC ARABIC SERVICE – ONE YEAR ON! WE CALL FOR THE REINSTATEMENT OF OUR COLLEAGUES
"...we also have a duty to defend the rights of our members, including the fundamental right to trade union representation within the framework of the established and agreed procedures." More...
Offended? We know how you feel
It is flabbergasting to hear your own words about anti-Arab films echoed by someone else. Especially when that someone else is a Jewish films-maker. Rabbi Marvin Hier, recipient of two Academy Awards as co-producer of Genocide (1981) and The Long Way Home (1997), is also leading the public campaign against Mel Gibson's new movie The Passion of Christ.
Let us look at his protests:
He says that all Jews are portrayed in a negative manner. This is common in movies featuring Arab terrorists. In his 2001 book Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood vilifies a people, US Professor Jack Shaheen analyses more than 900 films dating back to the silent films of 1896. He concludes "filmmakers have collectively indicted all Arabs as public enemy No. 1".
Wed Feb 18, 2004
The BBC and the Quiet Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians (Excerpts)
At present, ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is ongoing and systematic, yet it is difficult to find any reference to this crime against humanity in most news media. The issue is not so much slanted coverage as scant or selective coverage of the misery Israel is inflicting on the Palestinians. Although the BBC has a reputation for fair and balanced reporting, when it comes to Israel-Palestine a different standard seems to be applied, as even gross violations of human rights are not reported.
We have recently witnessed some cases of disjunction between the reality and the reportage generated by the main news media. For instance, the war in former Yugoslavia was portrayed as one of a Serbian ogre attacking innocent victims. Alas, reality diverged from this typecasting by the main networks, including the BBC. The latter rarely mentioned uncomfortable facts, and its reportage usually supported the official version of events – it remained propaganda-compliant.
Similarly, the BBC portrayed the war against Iraq in a way that paralleled Anglo-American policy. Although some revelations appeared through the cracks questioning the rationale behind the war, on the whole, the BBC’s output did not challenge the official stance on this war. It integrated into the embedded system without a peep from its journalists.
The BBC’s coverage actually supports Anglo-American policies by what it chooses to omit from its main news broadcasts. There is virtually no mention of the war in Colombia, or the attempts to destabilize Venezuela; if events in such countries are at odds with official policy, the BBC avoids them. The BBC marches mostly in lockstep with Anglo-American policy.
The situation with BBC’s Israel-Palestine coverage is similar to the previous examples; there is a disjunction between what is happening on the ground and the BBC’s coverage. If anything, the situation is more galling because of the long history of ethnic cleansing, the chronic mass human rights violations, and a recent accelerated land grab, entailing a new wave of ethnic cleansing. Given that the UK has been deeply involved in this sordid situation historically, by enabling mass Jewish migration into Palestine, it is curious how distorted and context-less the news presented by the BBC today are. Just like the official Anglo-American policy, Israel is treated as an official ally, and Palestinians as the “accepted enemy”.
If a propaganda organ sought to portray an “official ally” in better light, then one would expect some of the following bias and tendency in its coverage [coverage feature followed by Propaganda-compliant version]:
1. Portrayal of aggression
If an accepted ally is the aggressor, portray them as acting in self-defense or responding to violence. Never indicate that they may be the aggressor. The victims’ violence is always unreasonable, criminal, or terrorism.
2. Coverage of Negative aspects (e.g., killings)
The coverage of the violent acts of an accepted ally will be a fraction of what is happening on the ground. In contrast, the official enemy’s violence is covered fully. The ally’s victims of violence are covered showing emotional scenes; the enemy’s fatalities are just “facts” if mentioned at all.
3. Uncomfortable facts and key incidents, e.g., murders, acts of violence.
The official ally’s egregious attacks, or the spate of mass violence are barely mentioned, and then without looking at the consequences. Use exculpatory language like: “the attack was not a massacre” or statements minimizing the scale of purported atrocities.
4. Coverage of Positive aspects
If the official ally’s society does something that is considered positive, then highlight it. Positive aspects of the official enemy’s society are ignored.
There is always an explanation for the official ally’s actions. Explanation for official enemy’s actions doesn’t incorporate the relevant recent history.
6. Mediation vs. relating own story or explanation
Official enemy’s spokespersons are given leeway to explain their version of events. The official enemy’s version of events is mediated, and their voice is rarely heard.
7. Interpretation by expert journalist
Although the propaganda organ may have experts in the area, they seldom venture to offer an interpretation. Their reportage is presented as: the official ally says “x”, and official enemy say “y”. Journalists tend to explain away negative aspects and allow the ally to put forth their version of events.
Use generalities when they help bury specific actions, and refer to specifics when it is necessary to hide wider trends. When an admission is made of a specific incident, then mention it without reference to the general pattern.
9. Mutually exclusive accounts
Refer to aspects of the ally’s society, but present them unrelated to the enemy’s reality. The implication is that the official ally doesn’t have anything to do with the enemy’s plight.
Use official ally-centric words to describe actions or conditions, e.g., don’t use “illegal”, but use “disputed” or “controversial”.
11. Characterization of the leadership
The ally’s leaders are presented as centrist, reasonable, “man of peace”, accountable to parliament. The official enemy’s leaders are demonized; “is he relevant?”, or corrupt.
12. Portrayal of government
Accepted ally’s gov’t is portrayed as a democracy; the official enemy’s as corrupt, inept, and “they must reform”.
13. Portrayal of protagonists
Portray leadership or settlers in a family setting, smiling and playing with the kids. Portray the official enemy protagonists as hooded “militants” and suicide bombers – no family scenes.
14. Querying the US or UK gov’t officials about actions of the official ally.
US and UK are portrayed as not responsible for the official ally’s actions. When it comes to the official enemy, then clear indications are given that something will be done and pressure exerted.
Of course, this matrix would apply to any propaganda-compliant medium. However, the remainder of this article shows that much of the BBC’s output is consistent with the indicated matrix of actions and emphasis in its reportage. The BBC’s news from this area is mostly Israeli-centric, and it must be emphasized that the BBC’s bias is evident primarily in terms of omission.
Tue Feb 17, 2004
The BBC and the Quiet Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians
At present, ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is ongoing and systematic, yet it is difficult to find any reference to this crime against humanity in most news media. The issue is not so much slanted coverage as scant or selective coverage of the misery Israel is inflicting on the Palestinians. Although the BBC has a reputation for fair and balanced reporting, when it comes to Israel-Palestine a different standard seems to be applied, as even gross violations of human rights are not reported. More...
Hooligans in Hebron
Since the renewal of the Jewish settlement in Hebron during Passover in 1968, the large Palestinian city in the southern part of the West Bank has attracted the most extremist elements among the settlers. In the winter of 1994, a few months after the signing of the Oslo accords, Baruch Goldstein murdered 29 Arab residents of the city who were praying at the mosque in the Tomb of the Patriarchs. The massacre was meant to foil the agreement and prevent transfer of the city to the Palestinian Authority with the rest of the major cities of the West Bank. In the wake of the massacre, the parties agreed to the establishment of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), made up of volunteers from six countries and led by Norway. The TIPH observers are allowed to patrol on foot and by car everywhere in Hebron and to record their impressions - but they do not carry weapons and do not have the authority to intervene. More...
The fantasy of democracy in an Arab state
Blame the press. Blame the BBC. Blame the spooks. But don't blame Messers Bush and Blair. And don't blame the American neo-conservatives... They don't even exist. And if you say they did, you know what you're going to be called," Robert Fisk writes
Sat Feb 14, 2004
War vs. breast
Janet Jackson's breast is a weapon of mass destruction - at least by American standards. More...
Thu Feb 12, 2004
No point in searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq: Kay
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The former chief of the group of experts responsible for finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, David Kay, said there was no point in continuing to hunt for arms he said "really did not exist."
"I think finding them is probably the wrong approach, the wrong strategy," Kay told a news conference. More...
Wed Feb 11, 2004
Shortly after the collapse of the Iraqi regime, the BBC's Today programme sent Andrew Gilligan to Baghdad. Gilligan's reports were unlike anything the BBC had broadcast. They contradicted the official Anglo-American line about "liberation" and made clear that, for a great many Iraqis, the invasion and occupation were at least as bad as life under Saddam Hussein. More...
Sat Feb 07, 2004
Mourning Becomes Israel
Two ceremonies on the same day, but what a difference!
At an Israeli Air Force base, the bodies of three soldiers killed on the Lebanese border were ceremonially repatriated. The bodies had been held for three years by Hisbullah (the "Party of God"), who also freed a rather shady Israeli businessman they had detained in Beirut. In return, the Sharon government released 429 prisoners, Palestinian, Lebanese and others, and returned to Lebanon the bodies of 60 Lebanese militants buried temporarily in Israel.
The Lebanese prisoners who were released by Israel arrived at Beirut airport at exactly the time the bodies of the three soldiers arrived at the Israeli air base. Television created a virtual reality: the viewer could be present at both ceremonies simultaneously. By a simple movement of the finger, one could switch from Israel to Lebanon and back in a split second.
In Israel it was said that the deal was unbalanced. That it encourages the kidnapping of more Israelis, in order to secure the release of more prisoners. That it boosts the prestige of the Hisbullah leader, Hassan Nasrallah, enormously. That Sharon is using it in order to divert attention from the corruption affairs in which he and his two sons are involved.
All true, but all missing the main point. More...
Skirting the issue
Europe betrays the Palestinians yet again, even as the on-going construction of Israel's Apartheid wall shatters Palestinian livelihoods and undermines the creation of a viable Palestinian state, writes Jonathan Cook
Israel's furious diplomatic activity to sabotage a decision taken by the United Nations General Assembly last December to seek the opinion of its highest judicial body, the International Court of Justice, on the legality of Israel building its separation wall across large swaths of occupied Palestinian territory began to pay dividends at the weekend. More...
A Tragedy of Errors
About a decade ago, I invented a game with a colleague of mine who, like me, had once worked for Irving Kristol. We called it neoconservative bingo. The idea was that the clichés of neoconservative discourse would be arranged in various combinations on bingo cards: "The World's Only Superpower"; "The New Class"; "The China Threat"; "Decadent Europe"; "Against the UN"; "The Adversary Culture"; "The Global Democratic Revolution"; "Down With the Appeasers!"; "Be Firm Like Churchill." The free space in the center of the bingo card would be "The Palestinian People Do Not Exist" (nowadays it would be "No Palestinian State" or "All Palestinians Are Terrorists"). As you read an essay or a book by a neoconservative, you would check off each slogan on the card in the order in which it appeared.
We never printed our neocon bingo cards. But the neoconservative manifesto by David Frum and Richard Perle, An End to Evil, which is more a collection of talking points than a coherent argument, can serve just as well. The United Nations "has traduced and betrayed" the dream of world peace. The China Threat: "Eventual Korean unification will reinforce the power of the world's democracies against an aggressive and undemocratic China, should China so evolve." There are the Neville Chamberlain appeasers and the Decadent Europe theme: "To Americans, [Europe's doubts about the invasion of Iraq] looked like appeasement. But it would be a great mistake to attribute European appeasement to cowardice--or to cowardice alone." There are the obligatory Churchill references--a chapter is titled "End of the Beginning"--and there is this: "We will never cease to hope for the civilized world's support. But if it is lacking, as it may be, then we have to say, like the gallant lonely British soldier in David Low's famous cartoon of 1940: 'Very well, alone.'"
Wed Feb 04, 2004
The Native Informant
Late last August, at a reunion of Korean War veterans in San Antonio, Texas, Dick Cheney tried to assuage concerns that a unilateral, pre-emptive war against Iraq might "cause even greater troubles in that part of the world." He cited a well-known Arab authority: "As for the reaction of the Arab street, the Middle East expert Professor Fouad Ajami predicts that after liberation in Basra and Baghdad, the streets are sure to erupt in joy." As the bombs fell over Baghdad, just before American troops began to encounter fierce Iraqi resistance, Ajami could scarcely conceal his glee. "We are now coming into acquisition of Iraq," he announced on CBS News the morning of March 22. "It's an amazing performance."
If Hollywood ever makes a film about Gulf War II, a supporting role should be reserved for Ajami, the director of Middle East Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University. More...
Sun Feb 01, 2004
The Victims Of The Victims
I have just returned from a fact-finding tour of the West Bank and Jerusalem. We were a small group, which included two church ministers, two Jews and a Moslem. The motive for the visit was our concern about the plight of Palestinians in Israel and The Occupied Territories. We visited a refugee camp, schools, a university, and a rehabilitation clinic, a school for the blind, and numerous human rights and church organisations. We also met the mayors of Bethlehem and Beit Sahur, who described the policies designed by the Israelis to ‘encourage’ Palestinians to leave.
It shocked us to learn how mainstream the comprehensive policy of transfer has become. We should not have been shocked. Already in 1885 Theodor Herzl, the architect of Zionism, had no doubt it would be necessary and he said so – “we shall try to spirit the penniless Arab population across the border” etc. David Ben Gurion at the 1937 Zionist congress repeated the message “Transfer is what will make possible a comprehensive Jewish settlement programme. Jewish power will increase our possibilities to carry out the transfer on a large scale”. More...
The Hour Before Dawn
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Returning to Jerusalem yesterday, an Israeli soldier at the Bethlehem checkpoint glanced at my passport and mumbled "Did you enjoy the visit?"
"Yes" I replied.
"Well," he said pointing towards the town "it stinks in there. I smell it every day."
Taken aback, I asked "What do you mean?"
He repeated the comment and waved me through.
The previous day at the al Hamra checkpoint, south of Jenin, I had watched a soldier order people out of their cars. It was 7.00 in the morning and the slopes of the hills down one side of the valley were bathed in soft dawn light. Songbirds flitted from tree to tree and the valley floor was lush and green - the sky pristine blue. An extensive queue of cars taking Palestinians to work had formed already and the soldier was strutting up and down in Chaplinesque fashion, his rifle comically large in proportion to his diminutive frame. More...
The New Commissars
Congress threatens to cut off funding to collegiate Mideast Studies departments that refuse to toe the neocon line.
Universities are no strangers to disagreement and debate. In fact, the process of argumentation has always been an important way for academics to sharpen theories and refine analyses—be it in biology, economics, or political science.
Not so in the field of international studies, claim the intellectual cadres of the neoconservative movement, who have long been bitter about the under-representation of their worldview within academia. This imbalance, they claim, is not due to any weaknesses in their arguments but to the fact that U.S. universities in general, and departments studying the Middle East in particular, constitute a monolithic cabal of America-hating left-wing extremists with whom debate is impossible. Academia must be brought to heel. More...