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Archives: October 2004

Sun Oct 31, 2004

The new McCarthyism: Letter Submitted to the Boston Globe

Yet another well funded organization has joined the crusade of the powerful pro-Israel lobby in the U.S to counter the increasing realization on the part of ordinary Americans of the brutal, indefensible realities of Israeli oppression in the occupied territories of Palestine. It is called the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and is headed by Clifford May, who wrote recently in a syndicated column for the Scripps-Howard news service titled, "The New Anti-Semitism; Selling Genocide as a "Struggle For Equality" (October 7, 2004)" [url=http://www.defenddemocracy.org
//in_the_media/in_the_media_show.htm?doc_id=242203] the same is also "anti-Semitic". Which, ergo, is unacceptable in any civilized society. All of this to bolster the unstinting U.S government aid - economic, military and diplomatic- to the Sharon government in its unremitting violence against the Palestinians.

What readers may not know about Mr. May is that his Foundation for the Defense of Democracies has a long list of advisers who are neo-con luminaries like Richard Perle and Charles Krauthammer, all diehard supporters of Ariel Sharon and also of the illegal, devastating and disastrous U.S invasion of Iraq. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 31, 04 | 12:41 pm

Columbia professor faces probe on anti-Israel remarks

Columbia University's president, Lee Bollinger, said in an interview Friday that he asked that the university provost investigate accusations charging that a university professor allegedly expressed anti-Israeli and anti-Semitic views in class and displayed a hostility toward Israeli and Jewish students.

he said professor is Dr. Joseph Massad, assistant professor of modern Arab politics and intellectual history at Columbia's Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures department

Bollinger told the New-York Times Friday that he considered 'serious' the claims by Jewish students who said they felt intimidated to express pro-Israel views in class. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 31, 04 | 12:32 pm

Fri Oct 29, 2004

Pax Christi supports divestment from Israel

Christian Peace Group Supports Divestment from Israel

The 10th anniversary assembly of Pax Christi Aotearoa-New Zealand, held in Auckland on 1-2 October, endorsed the Anglican Peace and Justice Networks and Presbyterian Church of the United States in their recent call for divestment in Israel modelled on the popular boycott of apartheid South Africa. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 29, 04 | 7:55 pm

Mortality before and after the 2003 invasion of Iraq

"Making conservative assumptions, we think that about 100000 excess deaths, or more have happened since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Violence accounted for most of the excess deaths and air strikes from coalition forces accounted for most violent deaths. We have shown that collection of public-health information is possible even during periods of extreme violence. Our results need further verification and should lead to changes to reduce non-combatant deaths from air strikes." More...

Posted by: adminr on Oct 29, 04 | 12:50 pm

Thu Oct 28, 2004

Mainline Churches vs Israel?


Will new church moves toward stopping investment in companies that do business in Israel endanger Christian-Jewish relations?

When the Presbyterian Church (USA), the nation's major Presbyterian body, decided this summer to move toward cutting off investments in select companies that do business with Israel, Jewish groups were caught off guard. They were outraged that divestment, a tactic utilized against apartheid South Africa, was now being advocated by a major American Protestant denomination as a means of pressuring the Jewish state. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 28, 04 | 7:35 pm

When the Rabbits Get a Gun

This is the comforting fiction: Osama bin Laden is a monster who sprang whole from the fetid mire. He had no childhood, no influences, no education, no experiences to form his view of the world. He did not exist, and then he did, a vessel into which the universe poured the essence of evil. It is a simple, straightforward story of a man who hates freedom and kills for the pure joy of feeling innocent blood drip from his fingers. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 28, 04 | 7:30 pm

Song to my Brother

Do you remember
When we first played together?
When you first came to our land?
We welcomed you
We lived in peace.
We played together
We grew up together
We tilled the soil and shared our food. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 28, 04 | 6:52 pm

Eye to Eye

Look into my eyes
And tell me what you see
You don't see a damn thing,
'cause you can't possibly relate to me. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 28, 04 | 6:49 pm

Bush fuels terrorism, says Canadian MP

OTTAWA -- The first Muslim woman elected to the House of Commons is the product of a British finishing school for girls where she says "the social graces were instilled in us." Three decades after graduating, Yasmin Ratansi is a polite, refined woman who has relied on that training to keep her anger in check when she bumps up against suspicious U. S. border guards. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 28, 04 | 6:45 pm

Missing explosives at Al-Qaqaa: Bush caught in another Iraq war lie

The Bush administration’s political fortunes have been dealt a serious blow, only a week before the presidential election, with the revelation October 25 that 400 tons of extremely powerful explosives—some potentially usable in detonators for nuclear weapons—have gone missing in Iraq. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 28, 04 | 6:35 pm

Betrayers of Freedom

Dwight D. Eisenhower, who spent his life in the Army before being twice elected commander in chief, was about 100 times smarter than the present occupant of the White House. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 28, 04 | 6:31 pm

Commander in Chief

George Bush, our present commander in chief who has never seen combat, believes that combat-veteran John Kerry is unfit to be commander in chief. Well, let's look at Mad George's record. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 28, 04 | 6:28 pm

Controversial Film Roils Columbia

Documentary alleging anti-Israel bias by professors countered by many on campus. Where does open debate end and intimidation begin?

When news broke last week of the existence of a new film allegedly exposing anti-Israeli bias at Columbia University, the campus was thrown into turmoil yet again over the Israeli-Palestinian crisis.

The unreleased film, produced by the David Project, a Boston-based organization devoted to promoting Israeli positions, is said to consist of interviews with Columbia students who speak of instances of intimidation and harassment from professors, particularly in the Middle East and Asian Languages and Culture department (MEALAC), a department long thought by some in the pro-Israel community to be slanted against the Jewish state.

Although only a few Columbia officials have seen the film, whose existence was first reported in the New York Sun, word of the project prompted Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn) to call for the firing of one professor, Joseph Massad, who the film alleged verbally abused Israeli students, and restructuring the department to be more balanced.

But in interviews with four of the seven students who appear in the film, and more than two dozen others — mostly Israeli or American Jewish students who attended MEALAC classes over the last five years — a much different picture emerges than the one seemingly portrayed on screen. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 28, 04 | 2:21 pm

Will there be a war against the World after November 2?

There is a surreal quality about visiting the United States in the last days of the presidential campaign. If George W Bush wins, according to a scientist I met, who escaped Nazi-dominated Europe, America will surrender many of its democratic trappings and succumb to its totalitarian impulses. If John Kerry wins, according to most Democrat voters, the only mandate he will have is that he is not Bush. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 28, 04 | 4:07 am

Wed Oct 27, 2004

Suppressing the overseas vote

Record numbers of Americans abroad have registered, but bureaucratic snafus may prevent many from actually voting, writes Alix Christie

Susan Dzieduszycka-Suinat is pumped. Two weeks ago, sitting in an internet cafe on Munich's Odeonplatz, the software marketer who crafted a hugely successful voter registration website, pulls up numbers that show a remarkable spike in Americans overseas mobilising to defeat George W Bush.

Between her site and another out of Hong Kong, Democrats have registered 140,000 new voters, 40% of them from swing states - and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Americans abroad, roused to a boiling fury by a Bush doctrine that has smeared America's good name across the globe, are looking like the "silent swing vote" in several key battleground states. Overseas registration for both parties is up by 400% over 2000; estimates put the tally of possible civilian votes as high as 2 million. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 27, 04 | 6:02 pm

The colonial precedent

The growing brutality and deception of the Iraq war mirrors Britain's recent imperial history
The redeployment of British forces in Iraq to support a US assault on Falluja marks another stage in a creeping return to the colonial era, when popular revolts against occupation were routinely suppressed by overwhelming force. These past episodes, revealed in declassified British government files, provide numerous parallels with Iraq, and suggest a pattern of future blunders and atrocities. Those in Britain who like to regard more recent military interventions as humanitarian might dwell on those parallels as the latest phase of the Iraq war unfolds. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 27, 04 | 4:55 pm

Tue Oct 26, 2004

Bush doesn't “misspeak”. He lies, lies, lies.

"They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one's country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason." ~~Ernest Hemmingway

By Sheila Samples

10/26/04 "ICH" -- My friend Bernie says anyone who believes that George W. Bush's war on terror isn't a miserable, howling failure is surely a member of the media, a perp over at the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), or has had "the lobotomy." Bernie says if Bush manages to screw up another election, the second thing he's going to do is hit us with a full-blown draft.
More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 26, 04 | 8:57 pm

On the road to Civil war

Everybody in Israel is talking about the Next War. The most popular TV channel is running a whole series about it.

Not another war with the Arabs. Not the nuclear threat from Iran. Not the ongoing bloody confrontation with the Palestinians.

The talk is about the coming civil war. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 26, 04 | 6:39 pm

Free my husband, pleads wife of “traitor”


WILLIAM WEBSTER, a US Army sergeant and Muslim convert, was just months from completing his 20-year military career when his unit was ordered to Iraq last autumn. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 26, 04 | 6:27 pm

Hundreds demonstrate for release of “Mama Margaret” Hassan

Hundreds of people took to the streets in Baghdad yesterday to show their support for kidnapped aid worker Margaret Hassan - the first time there has been such a public protest against an abduction since the wave of hostage-taking began. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 26, 04 | 6:18 pm

UNRWA Gaza Field assessment of IDF Operation Days of Penitence

i. Introduction

Late on 28 September 2004 large numbers of Israeli Defence Force (IDF) tanks, bulldozers and armoured personnel carriers moved into Northern Gaza from permanent bases in Nissanit settlement, Erez Industrial Zone and the Eastern Border, tearing up roads and flattening homes and crops as they pushed forward. Israeli Army units established strategic positions on high ground overlooking the Jabalia, Izbet Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahia areas; troops also deployed along the main road between Jabalia camp and Beit Hanoun and on the northern and eastern sides of Jabalia camp.

Over the next 17 days the IDF remained in control of Northern Gaza. An estimated 200 armoured vehicles were on the ground in towns, villages and densely populated refugee camps, launching regular raids into civilian areas, firing on Palestinian targets from the air and ground, sealing off Palestinian neighbourhoods and restricting movement of civilians and humanitarian/emergency relief workers. Large swathes of agricultural land were leveled and there was widespread damage to public and private property – homes, schools, commercial interests - and public infrastructure. IDF bulldozers dug deep trenches across several main roads, severing sewage, water and electricity lines.

During the operation, approximately 36,000 Palestinians in different locations, including Beit Hanoun (22,000 persons), Izbet Beit Hanoun (5,000 persons), the areas east of Sikka St. and Salah Eddin St (2,500 persons), Nada and Awda towers (2,500 persons) and parts of Jabalia camp (4,000 persons) were under siege. Many thousands of civilians were unable to leave their homes, as fighting raged around them. An additional 4,000 persons fled their homes in the affected areas. The stated aim of the IDF operation was to prevent the firing of homemade Palestinian rockets into the Israeli town of Sderot. These have killed four Israeli citizens in recent months. At the time of the IDF redeployment on 15 October over 100 Palestinians had been killed, including 27 children, and over 400 injured. Operation Days of Penitence was the largest IDF incursion into Gaza since the start of the Al-Aqsa intifada in September 2000.

This report summarizes the preliminary findings of UNRWA’s field assessment of 16 October 2004, in the form of general data and a sector-by-sector review, which details the Agency’s response and planned activities. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 26, 04 | 5:27 pm

I dread what is going to happen in Fallujah

We will kill and maim you and yours until you agree to our domination and say you are ecstatic to be given this 'freedom'

10/25/04 "The Independent" -- It is not that I am ungrateful for minute mercies. It is a little heartening that some members of the hitherto pusillanimous herd of new Labour MPs have mooed in protest at the latest Blair/Hoon folly - the decision to send 850 British soldiers in to support the much-anticipated US assault on Fallujah. These Labour politicians and most commentators who object to the decision are anxious about "our boys", about what will happen to the soldiers in this volatile area. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 26, 04 | 5:00 pm

Letter from the people in Fallujah to Kofi Annan

FYI, the International action center was founded by Ramsey Clark

Letter from the people in Fallujah calling for help to end the bombardment and prevent the threatened assault.

His Excellency Mr. Kofi Annan Secretary General of the United Nations New York

Fallujah 14 October 2004

Your Excellency

It is very obvious that the American forces are committing crimes of genocide every day in Iraq. Now, while we are writing to Your Excellency, the American forces are committing these crimes in the city of Fallujah. The American warplanes are dropping their most powerful bombs on the civilian in the city, killing and injured hundreds of innocent people. At the same time their tanks are attacking the city with heavy artillery. As you know, there is no military presence in the city. There had been no actions taken by the Fallujah resistance in recent weeks because the negotiations between representatives of the city and the Government which were going well. In this atmosphere, the new bombardment by America has happened while the people of Fallujah have been preparing themselves for the fast of Ramadan. Now many of them are now trapped under the wreckage of their demolished houses, and nobody can help them while the attack continues. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 26, 04 | 4:53 pm

Anti-Israel Professor Is Defended

A British professor who caused an international uproar after she fired two scholars because they were Israeli urged academics to sign a letter in support of a Columbia University professor, Joseph Massad, who she believes is under attack by the "pro-Israel lobby."

A professor of translation studies at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, Mona Baker yesterday urged academics to sign the letter calling on Columbia's president, Lee Bollinger, to publicly defend Mr. Massad.

The campaign was spurred by a report in The New York Sun last week about Rep. Anthony Weiner's reaction to an underground documentary film featuring Columbia students talking about what they perceive as an anti-Israel bias among a number of faculty members, including Mr. Massad.

In response to the Sun article and an editorial published in the New York Daily News condemning Mr. Massad, Mr. Weiner, who represents Brooklyn and Queens, called on Columbia to "fire" Mr. Massad, saying the professor does not have "carte blanche to spew hate."

Mr. Massad and Ms. Baker yesterday refused to speak to the Sun. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 26, 04 | 2:07 pm

The Killing of Iman al-Hams: Executing Another Child in Rafah

Iman al-Hams was a 13-year old refugee schoolgirl who was executed -- after being wounded -- by an Israeli platoon commander on the sad sands of Rafah.

According to testimonies given by soldiers in the same company to the mass Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, a soldier in the watchtower identified Iman and cautioned his commander shouting, "Don't shoot. It's a little girl". The company commander, the soldiers testified, "approached her, shot two bullets into her [head], walked back towards the force, turned back to her, switched his weapon to automatic and emptied his entire magazine into her." (1) Eyewitnesses corroborated the soldiers, account, saying that Iman was shot almost 70 meters away from the Israeli military position. After a bullet hit her leg, Iman, who was wearing her school uniform, fell. Then, they said, the officer went over to her, saw that she was bleeding from her wounds, but still shot her twice in the head to "confirm the killing", an Israeli euphemism for the practice of executing a wounded Palestinian. A cursory army investigation later cleared him of any "unethical conduct", as is customary, and suspended him only because of "poor relations with subordinates".(2)

In a flash, Israel proved to the world -- yet again -- that it is not only intransigent in its patent and consistent violation of international law, but also incapable of adhering to the most fundamental principles of moral behavior. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 26, 04 | 10:25 am

Hundreds of Gazan Students Are Still Prevented from Traveling Abroad to Attend Their Universities

PCHR remains gravely concerned that hundreds of students from the Gaza Strip have not been able to travel to attend their universities abroad, due to the prohibition on travel of Palestinians who are aged between 18 and 35 by Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF). This prohibition violates the right to education. PCHR calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to ensure the compliance of IOF to international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and that they allow these students to travel to attend their universities.

According to information available to PCHR, at least 1500 university students from the Gaza Strip have been prevented from traveling to Arab and foreign countries through Rafah Terminal on the Palestinian-Egyptian border to attend their universities. Since 16 April 2004, IOF have prevented Palestinians who are between 16 and 35 from traveling through Rafah Terminal, thus depriving approximately 13% of the total population of the Gaza Strip of their right to freedom of movement, and violating a set of their political, civil, economic, social and cultural rights. These students have been forced to spend days at the Palestinian side of the terminal, hoping that they would be allowed to travel. Although IOF, which control the Rafah Terminal, allowed nearly 35 students of this category of age to travel, following prolonged coordination efforts through the Palestinian liaison, hundreds of other students are still waiting to be permitted to travel and attend their universities like other university students throughout the world. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 26, 04 | 10:00 am

Sun Oct 24, 2004

TED HONDERICH AND THE NEWSPAPER LONDONSTUDENT

At the Edinburgh Festival Ted Honderich gave a lecture that included moral support for the Palestinians in their struggle against neo-Zionism -- the enlarging of the state of Israel beyond its 1967 borders, with what that has entailed and will entail for the Palestinians. This was objected to by the chairman and some other members of the undergraduate Jewish Society in University College London and also by the Union of Jewish Students. An aim of the group in question was to have the college take down the website at which you are looking. The aim was pursued in the LondonStudent, the newspaper of the University of London Students Union, said to be Europe's largest student newspaper. Also, a motion was put on the agenda of the first meeting of the academic year of the University College London Students Union. What follows here, first, are three articles from the newspaper, the third having to do with a lecturer at Kings College London. The articles about Ted Honderich contained falsehoods and false implications, and were in the opinion of his lawyers, Farrer & Co., and Mr. Julian Pike in particular, defamatory and inflammatory. As a result, London Student agreed to apologise, which it has done, and to print a considerable reply, and to refrain from repeating various allegations. It has also agreed to pay Professor Honderich's considerable legal costs. That he chose to incur them, against a university students union, had to do with resisting the final aim of any campaign of neo-Zionism, however juvenile and disregardable in itself, and however it came about, which final aim he describes as the continuing violation of Palestine. The three articles appeared on the front page and other pages of the newspaper on 20 September 2004, under the given headings, and were subsequently disavowed by the chairman of the Jewish Society. They are followed below by the agreed reply, which appeared in the next issue, that of 11 October. The motion to the UCL Students Union was rejected unanimously. It would have been decisively rejected, it seems, given attitudes to free speech in University College London, shared by the officers of the college's Association of University Teachers, even if the proposer of the motion and others had not been absent from the meeting, apparently on account of a Jewish holiday. The author of the second article below, Dex Barton, withdrew as a seconder of the motion in advance of the meeting.

---------------------------------------------------

RACIAL HARM-ONY
University of London race relations suffer a series of blows

by Angharad Davies
(London Student, 20 September 2004, p. 1)

A summer of controversy has left race relations at the University of London in pieces.

Despite being home to one of the most cosmopolitan and multi-cultural student bodies in the world, lecturers at the colleges have proved themselves to be far from racially tolerant after a series of incidents that have left students in shock. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 24, 04 | 7:32 pm

THE 2004 ELECTION

Basem L. Ra'ad is professor and chair of the Department of English at Al-Quds University in East Jerusalem.

How should a person react to the U.S. government? "I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it."

These are not the words of a U.S.-hating European or an Iraqi in 2004. It is Henry David Thoreau declaring his civil resistance in 1848 to an expansionist war with Mexico and a slave system at home.

Today's war has more advanced pretexts, and the slaves are impoverished people and new global injustices. But the sentiment is still very relevant - and to a much larger percentage of people around the world than was possible in Thoreau's time.

Thoreau points indirectly to an essential discrepancy between principles and practices built into the very construction of America 400 years ago as a colonial project on the Atlantic shores. Its patriarchs drew a blinding strength of justification by identifying with a biblical "chosen people" whose wilderness mission their god sanctioned and glorified. Amazingly, pursuing self-interest and freedom, at others' expense, were declared virtues. It mattered little that in so owning a paradise (or taming a wilderness) they also despoiled it.

This duality at the origins of their society burdened some later Americans with a heavy guilt, expressed in subversive works by great writers like Hawthorne, Melville, Twain, Dreiser, Fitzgerald and Faulkner: the sins of ancestors who burned witches and slaughtered natives, the promise of a fresh start squandered by over-exploitation, the corruption and tragedy of a moneyed dream, trees that remember what once was there.

"Conscience," "freedom," and "justice" turn out to be pliable terms, defined to suit each culture and religion. In a culture that honors both self-interest and the selfless work of God, the higher values can become clouded. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 24, 04 | 7:21 pm

"It's Not Who You're Against; It's Who You're For": Palestine Takes Center Stage at European Social Forum

"End the oppression, end the occupation" was the rallying cry at the European Social Forum in London last weekend, where thousands of delegates from all walks of life descended on Alexandra Palace united in the belief that "another world is possible." Delegates spent three days discussing issues ranging from Palestine, Iraq and the Basque country to privatisation, animal rights and globalization.

In the Great Hall, Cubans sold Che Guevara books, badges and mugs. Communists distributed Marxist literature. Palestinians sold olive oil. Persians protested the Ayatollahs. Feminists campaigned for women's rights, greens for the environment and Iraqis for Iraq. Activists drew attention to the plight of political prisoners throughout the world, and artists protested against the war. "It's not who you are against but what you're for" declared one banner.

An elaborate network of translators, called Babels, volunteers from
all over Europe, sat in little boxes translating the cries against imperialism, capitalism, colonialism and occupation into English, French, Spanish, German, Turkish, Kurdish, Arabic and a plethora of other languages including Euskera. Headphones were free of charge and a travel card was included with the price of the ticket. Food and beverages were provided at extra cost.


Due to immigration restrictions there was a heavy demand for Arabic and Turkish interpreters. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 24, 04 | 1:33 pm

Columbia University must take a stand

[Comment by site editor: Don't believe the typical Zionist lies expressed in this Editorial. Joseph Massad is an articulate defender of Palestinian rights. A man of dazzling scholarship, genuine commitment to peace with justice, and great integrity. A potential Edward Said in the making. What can possibly be worse for Zionist defenders of Israeli war crimes? Mona Baker]

Students at Columbia University have given troubling accounts of classroom instruction that is at the least anti-Israel and anti-American and at the worst anti-Semitic. And they describe an atmosphere that suppresses all but single-minded fealty to the notion that Israel is, in a word, evil.

The locus for this poison, according to interviews filmed by an activist group, is Columbia's Department of Middle Eastern and Asian Languages and Cultures. No surprise there. The outfit has steadily built a reputation for having a faculty that enforces some rather distasteful views under the guise of academic freedom.
More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 24, 04 | 11:37 am

Sat Oct 23, 2004

Protests across South Africa - Stop Ehud Olmert

The streets of Johanesburg, Cape Town and Durban reveberated this weekend with cries of "Free Free Palestine", "Isolate Apartheid Israel", "Boycott Israel" and "No to Bantustans", to mark the forthcoming visit of Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to South Africa. Thousands of people took to the streets (pictured on the page are scenes from the march in Johannesburg) . On Saturday's evening news, scenes from the vibrant protests interspersed with footage from the latest deadly Israeli raids into Gaza left viewers questioning why the ANC government, supposedly a staunch supporter of the Palestinian cause, could be entertaining such a key representative of Israel. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 23, 04 | 11:01 am

Divesting: A Mideast Strategy?

The idea has floated around for years on the fringes of the Middle East debate: Opponents of Israeli policy in the Palestinian territories should divest from companies doing business there.

Now, the concept is gaining ground in the heart of American Protestantism, pitting U.S. Jewish and Christian leaders against each other. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 23, 04 | 10:46 am

Bollinger's Blindness

[Comment by site editor: Don't believe the typical Zionist lies expressed in this article. Joseph Massad is an extremely well educated, articulate defender of Palestinian rights. A man of dazzling scholarship, genuine commitment to peace with justice, and great integrity. A potential Edward Said in the making. What can possibly be worse for Zionist defenders of Israeli war crimes? Mona Baker]

"I think something extremely important is happening on our campuses. They are now turned into sites for cultivation of critical judgment for responsible citizenship in what we hope will remain a free republic. Even as late as five years ago no one would have dared stand on the steps of the Law Library on Columbia Campus and condemn the military thuggery of people like Ariel Sharon. Innocent people in Jenin, Kandahar, Shalamcheh, or Baghdad are brutally massacred and no one would have dared to condemn these acts publicly. But not anymore."
- Hamid Dabashi, speaking to the Electronic Intifada online magazine, September 30, 2002


Professor Hamid Dabashi, chairman of Columbia's notorious Middle East and Asian Languages and Cultures department, is quite correct to point out that "something extremely important" is happening on our campuses. While Mr. Dabashi would celebrate this change - summarized as a growing hatred for America and Israel among students and faculty members - we believe it represents one of the most troubling trends in higher education and a critical problem for Columbia University. It has become increasingly clear that Columbia's standing as one of the great research universities in the nation is jeopardized by a contingent of professors whose disdain for Israel, America, democracy, and freedom has a remarkable influence over Columbia's curriculum and quality of its research. To appreciate how commonplace and accepted anti-Israel sentiment has become at Columbia, one simply has to take a look at the Web site Columbiadivest.org, the home page of a recent effort at the Morningside Heights campus to persuade Columbia's administration to divest its holdings in companies that sell arms and military hardware to Israel. More than a third of the full-time faculty of the Mealac department signed the petition, as have a total of 107 Barnard and Columbia faculty members. Signers of the petition include Joseph Massad, a non-tenured professor of modern Arab politics who teaches a course on Middle East nationalism. Mr. Massad is not shy about his hatred for Israel, a country whose legitimacy as a Jewish state he denies and whose policies he routinely calls "racist." He is the professor, as described in an underground film produced by the Boston-based David Project, who upon completing a lecture refused to answer a question from an Israeli student but ordered the student to say how many Palestinians he killed as a soldier. Rep. Anthony Weiner is absolutely correct to call, as he did yesterday, for Columbia to fire him.
More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 23, 04 | 9:42 am

Columbia Abuzz Over Underground Film

[Comment by site editor: Don't believe the typical Zionist lies expressed in this article. Joseph Massad is an extremely well educated, articulate defender of Palestinian rights. A man of dazzling scholarship, genuine commitment to peace with justice, and great integrity. A potential Edward Said in the making. What can possibly be worse for Zionist defenders of Israeli war crimes? Mona Baker]

At a history class, a professor mockingly tells a female Jewish student she cannot possibly have ancestral ties to Israel because her eyes are green.

During a lecture, a professor of Arab politics refuses to answer a question from an Israeli student and military veteran but instead asks the student, "How many Palestinians have you killed?"

At a student meeting on the topic of divestment from Israel, a Jewish student is singled out as responsible for death of Palestinian Arabs.

Those scenes are described by current and former students interviewed for an underground documentary that is causing a frisson of concern to ripple through the Morningside Heights campus of Columbia University, where the incidents took place.

The film, about anti-Israel sentiment at the school, has not yet been released to the public, but it has been screened for a number of top officials of Columbia, and talk of its impact is spreading rapidly on a campus where some students have complained of anti-Israel bias among faculty members. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 23, 04 | 9:38 am

Rep Weiner asks Columbia to fire anti-Israel prof

[Comment by site editor: Don't believe the typical Zionist lies expressed in this article. Joseph Massad is an extremely well educated, articulate defender of Palestinian rights. A man of dazzling scholarship, genuine commitment to peace with justice, and great integrity. A potential Edward Said in the making. What can possibly be worse for Zionist defenders of Israeli war crimes? Mona Baker]

A congressman from New York City is calling for the dismissal of a Columbia University professor he accuses of "displays of anti-Semitism." More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 23, 04 | 12:35 am

Fri Oct 22, 2004

9/11 Mom : A letter to George W Bush

On the Thirty-third Anniversary of My Daughter’s Birth

cc: Senator John Kerry

    Sometimes, Mr. Bush, it’s the smallest of details that makes everything click. The smallest of details. Right now, Mr. Bush, I am looking at your watch. It’s an item of clothing accessory and, unlike your other costumes, it is one that is particularly revealing. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 22, 04 | 9:21 pm

Europe's silent revolution

Tariq Ramadan speaks to Omayma Abdel-Latif about the future of Muslims in the West

"Some in the West cannot get themselves to believe that you can build an identity that is truly Muslim and truly Western at the same time. They are so obsessed with a clash between the two cultures, that they don't see this happening"
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 22, 04 | 6:46 pm

Historians making the front page...

... is not always good news, Maria Misra discovered on a recent visit to India.

I will watch at least some of David Starkey's new 20-part series on the British monarchy with interest, even though it's not quite my kind of history. As an academic who has put her toe into TV history, I think the more history on TV the better, and Starkey certainly produces a polished and entertaining product. Even so, I prefer my history slightly more edgy and polemical and, though monarchy does have an argument, it looks much like the old Whiggish celebration of English liberties flowering in the venerable soil of ancient institutions. While some academics will doubtless quibble, this will not be the stuff of front-page controversy.

However, my desire for historians to be in the thick of contemporary politics has been somewhat dented after a recent trip to India. There, the role of the public intellectual, and the media historian in particular, could not be more different than it is here. India's TV networks are not awash in history and its historians, outstanding though many of them are, do not command the fees of a Starkey. Recently, however, they have acquired a profile that British academics can only dream of, though the reasons for their prominence are more the stuff of nightmares.
More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 22, 04 | 9:22 am

It's a question of them and US

Tariq Ramadan is a European Muslim who could help transform Islam's relations with the West, so why is the US trying to keep him out? asks Malise Ruthven.

It is not often that the US Secretary of State intervenes publicly in rows between warring departments within the Bush Administration. But in the case of Tariq Ramadan, a Swiss citizen, Colin Powell let his displeasure be known when the Department of Homeland Security revoked Ramadan's visa nine days before he was due to take up a prestigious appointment as the Henry R. Luce professor of religion, conflict and peace-building at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

Ramadan is a scholar of Islam who did his graduate work on Nietzsche before lecturing in philosophy in Geneva and Fribourg. He is also a prolific writer, with some 20 books and several hundred articles under his belt. He has been named by Time magazine as one of the world's top 100 scientists and thinkers - an impressive accolade for a man barely out of his thirties. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 22, 04 | 9:17 am

Thu Oct 21, 2004

A school girl riddled with bullets. And no one is to blame

The undisputed facts are these: it was broad daylight, 13-year-old Iman al-Hams was wearing her school uniform, and when she walked into the Israeli army's "forbidden zone" at the bottom of her street she was carrying her satchel. A few minutes later the short, slight child was pumped with bullets. Doctors counted at least 17 wounds and said much of her head was destroyed.
Beyond that there is little agreement between the army top brass and Palestinian witnesses as to how Iman came to die last week, or even among members of the military unit responsible for killing the child in Gaza's Rafah refugee camp. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 21, 04 | 10:05 pm

They're Building A Wall

They're building a wall
A wall between friends
A wall that justifies
Any means for their ends
A wall between Semites
Rich and poor
Brothers and sisters
From not so long before
Many feet thick
And twenty feet high
No one can look through it
And into the eye
Of a person you might know
To whom you might confide
Now just a stranger
On the other side More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 21, 04 | 5:04 pm

Wed Oct 20, 2004

Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes “violates international law”

Israel has systematically violated international law by destroying the homes of 16,000 people in Gaza's southernmost town regardless of military necessity, a leading New York-based human rights agency said yesterday. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 20, 04 | 8:04 pm

Kidnapped: The heroine who offered hope for Iraq

Margaret? Margaret Hassan kidnapped? She who said to me that soon, very soon, "there will be more than one lost generation" in Iraq?

Is there no end to the kidnappers' targets? Margaret Hassan was abducted at 7.30 yesterday morning on her way to work running Care International's Iraq operation. Soon afterwards, Arabic al-Jazeera television showed her sitting in a room looking calm, if concerned. It also showed close-ups of her identification papers and said an unnamed Iraqi group claimed it had kidnapped her. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 20, 04 | 4:21 pm

The 9/11 Secret in the CIA's Back Pocket

The agency is withholding a damning report that points at senior officials.


It is shocking: The Bush administration is suppressing a CIA report on 9/11 until after the election, and this one names names. Although the report by the inspector general's office of the CIA was completed in June, it has not been made available to the congressional intelligence committees that mandated the study almost two years ago.

"It is infuriating that a report which shows that high-level people were not doing their jobs in a satisfactory manner before 9/11 is being suppressed," an intelligence official who has read the report told me, adding that "the report is potentially very embarrassing for the administration, because it makes it look like they weren't interested in terrorism before 9/11, or in holding people in the government responsible afterward."

When I asked about the report, Rep. Jane Harman (D-Venice), ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, said she and committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra (R-Mich.) sent a letter 14 days ago asking for it to be delivered. "We believe that the CIA has been told not to distribute the report," she said. "We are very concerned." More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 20, 04 | 12:49 pm

Poverty, stress and unmet needs: life with diabetes in the Gaza Strip

The political and social situation in the Gaza Strip remains tense, with considerable disruption of normal economic and social activity. Such an environment is rarely conducive to the delivery of continuing medical care. In this article Panagiotis Tsapogas, Medical Co-ordinator of the Greek section of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in Gaza, 2002-2003, reports on the difficulties faced by Palestinian people with diabetes in Gaza, and makes a call for the provision of improved diabetes care. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 20, 04 | 9:34 am

Palestine: the assault on health and other war crimes

Does the death of an Arab weigh the same as that of a US or Israeli citizen? The Israeli army, with utter impunity, has killed more unarmed Palestinian civilians since September 2000 than the number of people who died on September 11, 2001. In conducting 238 extrajudicial executions the army has also killed 186 bystanders (including 26 women and 39 children). Two thirds of the 621 children (two thirds under 15 years) killed at checkpoints, in the street, on the way to school, in their homes, died from small arms fire, directed in over half of cases to the head, neck and chest—the sniper's wound. Clearly, soldiers are routinely authorised to shoot to kill children in situations of minimal or no threat. These statistics attract far less publicity than suicide bombings, atrocious though these are too. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 20, 04 | 9:23 am

Tue Oct 19, 2004

“When we came back they had destroyed all the houses”

The Israeli general who commanded the destruction of the only Jewish settlement in the Sinai before it was returned to Egypt recently offered Ariel Sharon advice on how to carry out his pledge to remove settlers from the Gaza strip.

"Evicting someone from the home they've lived in for 20 years isn't a simple matter," wrote Brigadier General Obed Tira. "To remove a family from its home is embarrassing and difficult, and that is why the removal needs to be done with a lot of love and a lot of wisdom." More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 19, 04 | 6:45 pm

Iraq's nuclear-related equipment goes Missing under the US Occupation

The loss of equipment and material from Iraq’s nuclear-related facilities during the US occupation of the country has once again exposed the lies used by the Bush administration as the pretext for its invasion. Not only have US weapons inspectors failed to find any evidence that the Hussein regime had any weapons of mass destruction (WMD), but sophisticated equipment, previously closely monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has gone missing. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 19, 04 | 3:31 pm

Report: Israel violating int'l law by destroying homes in Gaza

JERUSALEM - Israel has violated international law by systematically destroying Palestinian homes in the Gaza Strip town of Rafah in a bid to create a buffer zone along the border with Egypt, according to a human rights report released Monday.

The report, by New York-based Human Rights Watch, also accused the Israeli military of exaggerating the threat posed by weapons smuggling tunnels running from Rafah to Egypt - the main justification for home demolitions - and failing to use less destructive measures to uncover and destroy the tunnels.

"We've seen the piece by piece destruction of up to 10 percent of Rafah," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 19, 04 | 9:10 am

Mon Oct 18, 2004

A cultural genocide

Kamil Mahdi writes about a development project which hits at the heart of Najaf's old quarters

The old city of Najaf is being demolished. Bulldozers are moving in to complete the work of the tanks, missiles and airborne machine guns. The promised help for reconstruction appears to be conditional on the population leaving their homes and businesses in order to allow what is left of the city's old seminaries ( madrasas ), historic homes, khans, markets, cellars, catacombs; its alleys and its beautiful but damaged and neglected architecture, to be swept away in a mad rush to create free fire zones that are accessible for humvees. United States Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage claims that, "the very next day [after the end of fighting with the Moqtada Al-Sadr forces last August] Prime Minister Iyad Allawi and the Coalition brought reconstruction money to Najaf."

Armitage's statement came on the same day US Under- Secretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman announced a reduction of $3.4 billion in funds allocated for water, sewerage and electricity in Iraq and a shift of emphasis towards security-related expenditure and towards alleged job creation. Grossman pointed to "a very good example... in Najaf... where you regain control of a city and you want to make sure that as quickly as possible, reconstruction funds are going there, people are getting employed, so people have some hope that this is a change for the better." More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 18, 04 | 6:39 pm

Gaza Sinks in a Sea of Blood

It smells unbelievably bad here. To walk down any street—if you dare to—you skirt, or sometimes unavoidably walk through, pools of blood. There are shreds of human flesh—some of them unrecognizable as human remains—all over, on rooftops, plastered to broken windows, on the street. The stench of rotting blood mixes with the more acrid odor of flesh burnt to black char by the rockets fired by the Israeli Army's American-made Apache helicopters. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 18, 04 | 12:44 am

Sun Oct 17, 2004

Why is war-torn Iraq giving $190,000 to Toys R Us?

Next week, something will happen that will unmask the upside-down morality of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. On October 21, Iraq will pay $200m in war reparations to some of the richest countries and corporations in the world.

If that seems backwards, it's because it is. Iraqis have never been awarded reparations for any of the crimes they suffered under Saddam, or the brutal sanctions regime that claimed the lives of at least half a million people, or the US-led invasion, which the UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, recently called "illegal". Instead, Iraqis are still being forced to pay reparations for crimes committed by their former dictator. More...

Posted by: adminr on Oct 17, 04 | 10:48 pm

Presbyterians Respond to Criticism of Divestment Resolution

The Palestinian Solidarity Movement is meeting October 15-17 at Duke University to discuss divestment strategies, and the lead speaker is Dennis Brutus, the well-known anti-apartheid South African activist who is speaking on the usefulness of divestment in the struggle against oppression and how it helped to bring change in South Africa. The fourth conference of the PSM will focus on the move to divest from companies doing business with Israel and how to harness support for it on American campuses and among churches.
More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 17, 04 | 8:38 pm

Conference at Duke University equates Zionism, apartheid

A weekend conference urging divestment from Israel got underway at Duke University on Friday and continued into Saturday with speakers equating Zionism with South African apartheid and some calling for an end to an exclusively Jewish state.

The gathering, the fourth organized by the Palestine Solidarity Movement, stirred up emotions in the Duke community, with many Jews outraged by the PSM's refusal to condemn Palestinian violence. As a result, some Jewish professors on campus refused to take part in the PSM's panels. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 17, 04 | 8:31 pm

Fri Oct 15, 2004

Zarqawi - Bush's Man for all Seasons


...“Zarqawi” is much like a movie. Fake leg or not, return of the living dead or not, he is everywhere. American corporate media do not even bother to examine all the holes in the story. Who cares? Without Zarqawi, the Bush administration would have to painfully admit that the Iraqi resistance is a national liberation struggle. With Zarqawi, the administration can parrot to oblivion the line that Iraq is in the frontline of the “war on terror”...! .

"Oh Allah, America came with its horses and knights to challenge Allah and his message. Oh Allah, destroy the kingdom of Bush as you destroyed the kingdom of Caesar."
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi audio, February 2004

"You know, I hate to predict violence, but I just understand the nature of the killers. This guy, Zarqawi, an al-Qaeda associate - who was in Baghdad, by the way, prior to the removal of Saddam Hussein - is still at large in Iraq. And as you might remember, part of his operational plan was to sow violence and discord amongst the various groups in Iraq by cold- blooded killing. And we need to help find Zarqawi so that the people of Iraq can have a more bright … future.”
President George W Bush, June 2004

"If they do not turn in al-Zarqawi and his group, we will carry out operations in Fallujah. We will not be lenient."
Iyad Allawi, Iraqi prime minister, October 2004

More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 15, 04 | 5:44 pm

This too i will Remember

This too, I will remember...

My people huddled in darkness
Frightened, hungry, and thirsty

Caged like animals... More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 15, 04 | 4:38 am

Thu Oct 14, 2004

Double Standards and Curious Silences. Amnesty International: A False Beacon?

Given the current escalation of Israeli depredations in Gaza and the daily US bombings of Falluja, it is interesting to examine Amnesty International's (AI) statements on the situation. AI is widely viewed as an authority on human rights issues, and thus it is of interest to analyze its output on these recent events. Careful scrutiny of AI's record reveals that, its typical response to the daily obscene deeds by either Israeli or US armies is a few barely audible ruminations with an occasional lame rebuke. The impotence of these responses raises many questions. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 14, 04 | 11:14 am

Palestinian Call for Boycott: Suggested Guiding Principles

Dear fellow academics, intellectuals and activists:

Please find attached a Palestinian call for boycott issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel. It has the support of nearly sixty of the most prominent academic, cultural, professional, and trade unions and associations in the Occupied West Bank and Gaza, including the Federation of Unions of Palestinian Universities’ Professors and Employees and the umbrella organization of Palestinian NGOs in the occupied West Bank, PNGO. It is thus highly representative of the views of major sectors in Palestinian civil society. We urge you to endorse this call and distribute it as widely as possible to academic organizations, educational institutions, and cultural and professional associations. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 14, 04 | 9:11 am

Tue Oct 12, 2004

Future generations will struggle to escape the legacy of the disaster in Iraq

Our betrayals and broken promises have created a kind of irreversible disease that cannot be forgiven


I am writing a book about our need to escape from history - or rather about our inability to escape the effects of the decisions taken by our fathers and grandfathers. My father was a soldier in the First World War or, as it says on the back of his campaign medal, "The Great War for Civilisation'' - which is the title I've chosen for my book. In the space of just 17 months after my father's war ended, the victors had drawn the borders of Northern Ireland, Yugoslavia and most of the Middle East. And I have spent all my professional life watching the people inside those borders burn.

I once sat down with old Malcolm Macdonald, Britain's former colonial secretary, to discuss his handover of the Irish treaty ports to De Valera before the Second World War, thus depriving Britain of three great harbours during the Battle of the Atlantic. It was a step which earned Macdonald the undying contempt of Winston Churchill. Inevitably, though, we ended up
talking about his vain attempts to solve the "Palestine problem" in the 1930s. In the Commons, Churchill angrily condemned Macdonald for restricting Jewish immigration to Palestine. I still have my notes of what Macdonald said to me. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 12, 04 | 11:29 am

Jesus and Jihad

If the latest in the "Left Behind" series of evangelical thrillers is to be believed, Jesus will return to Earth, gather non-Christians to his left and toss them into everlasting fire:

"Jesus merely raised one hand a few inches and a yawning chasm opened in the earth, stretching far and wide enough to swallow all of them. They tumbled in, howling and screeching, but their wailing was soon quashed and all was silent when the earth closed itself again."

These are the best-selling novels for adults in the United States, and they have sold more than 60 million copies worldwide. The latest is "Glorious Appearing," which has Jesus returning to Earth to wipe all non-Christians from the planet. It's disconcerting to find ethnic cleansing celebrated as the height of piety. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 12, 04 | 11:17 am

Yoko Ono Awards Peace Grant to Hersh, Vanunu

NEW YORK - Yoko Ono has awarded peace grants to journalist Seymour Hersh and Israeli nuclear whistle-blower Mordechai Vanunu, men she says epitomize her late husband John Lennon's song, "Gimme Some Truth."

Hersh and Vanunu will each receive a $50,000 LennonOno Grant for Peace, according to a statement Thursday by Ono's publicist, Elliot Mintz.

Ono said the 2004 honorees are "people who have spoken out for the benefit of the human race by overcoming extreme personal difficulties and, in doing so, have allowed the truth to prevail." More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 12, 04 | 8:55 am

Sun Oct 10, 2004

Palestinians Will Find No Friends In White House

The beleaguered Palestinians will have no friend in the White House next year, no matter who wins the presidential race.

Neither President George W. Bush nor Sen. John Kerry has any intention of saving the Palestinian refugees living in misery in the Gaza Strip from the current Israeli military assault, which appears to have the silent blessing of the United States. More...

Posted by: adminr on Oct 10, 04 | 10:46 am

Sat Oct 09, 2004

Sharon comes clean

So now we know for certain. Ariel Sharon's plan to "disengage" from the Gaza Strip is a gambit to freeze the Middle East peace process indefinitely, hang on to nearly all the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, deny the Palestinians a state, and set aside forever the future of 4m Palestinian refugees, the status of occupied Arab east Jerusalem and where Israel's final borders are to be drawn.

While little of this will come as a surprise to readers of these columns, we now have it on the authority of Dov Weisglass, Mr Sharon's closest aide, who secured the support of the Bush White House for this manifestly one-sided outcome. He told Israel's Haaretz newspaper that the Gaza plan "supplies the formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians".
More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 09, 04 | 6:46 pm

Fri Oct 08, 2004

Annihilation and Celebration are Strange Bedfellows: The Israeli-Jewish way of Atonement

Twenty days ago I described the Nablus experience of Jewish Holy Days, and forecast what I thought the hermetic sealing of Palestine, announced by Shaul Mofaz on 10th September and said to be for Israel’s security, would mean for Palestine (Too Much to Atone for on Yom Kippur - http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/2004/708/re2.htm) Now, judge for yourself – here is a summary of 30 pages of headlines and 2,000 detailed accounts of the thousands of actions of the Israelis, each one of which is adjudged a War Crime under International Law and Custom.

The figures would horrify, even in a war situation, but this is not a war. Rather, it is a monumentally unequal conflict between the world’s fourth-ranking military power, its almost entirely military population operating the world’s most technologically-advanced killing machine, and an entirely civilian population bereft of any defence even armed police, without even a jeep. Israel has, since 1948, been cruelly oppressing an innocent people struggling for their freedom, in its brutal and illegal occupation of Palestine – the longest in modern history – to which armed Resistance is entirely legal.
More...

Posted by: Charles MacKinnon on Oct 08, 04 | 6:24 pm

FBI seazes Global Indymedia Servers

FBI took the hard drives of Global IMC servers in the USA and the UK. It appears that a court order was issued to Rackspace (Indymedia's service provider with offices in the US and in London) to physically remove the hard drives from Global Indymedia servers (backup servers are now in place). Rackspace was given no time to defend against the order before it was acted upon and turned over the hard drives, both in the US and the UK. The servers hosted numerous local IMCs and the reason for the seizure is not known.
More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 08, 04 | 5:05 pm

Occupation as withdrawal

We don't need to react to Sharon. We don't need to react to him or his ideas. We need to boycott Sharon. We need to reject his plans altogether. We need to send a clear message, to the Arabs and the world, that we reject Sharon's schemes and intend to fight and defeat them. We need to formulate a unified Palestinian stand. We want Sharon's government boycotted and placed under sanctions for it is a government that has broken every law and norm.


The evidence is piled high, yet some remain in denial, still believing Sharon plans to "withdraw" from Gaza. Sharon himself never used the word "withdrawal", yet the word has spread like wildfire. The international media invented it, the Arab media picked it up and Palestinian officials seem to have believed it. Arab officialdom now acts as if "withdrawal" is just around the corner.

All Sharon ever wanted to do was to turn Gaza into one enormous big prison. Sharon seeks to surround the strip with Israeli forces on all sides and prevent its inhabitants from communicating with the outside world by air, sea or land. Sharon dreams of a Gaza he can invade and attack at will. This is his scheme. This is the alternative he offers to the roadmap and the assortment of other "peace plans". More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 08, 04 | 3:41 pm

Thu Oct 07, 2004

Days of Penitence

An ocean full of tears
A life time of heartache
In a sea of death and violence
Terrified children scream
And wonder
Are they
The children
Of a lesser
God? More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 07, 04 | 3:36 pm

Wed Oct 06, 2004

The enduring winter of our discontent

Over ten weekly programmes -- broadcast on Al-Jazeera from 7 July to 9 September -- Mohamed Hassanein Heikal, the Arab world's most celebrated commentator and political analyst, took incisive stock of a new, tumultuous stage in Arab history. Below are transcribed excerpts

APPEARING ON Al-JAZEERA: I think it best to begin by answering two questions. The first is how it came about that I'm here today; the second is what do I have to say?

About a year ago, after completing the final article in a series on the American Empire, I took leave of my reading public. I stressed then that by leaving I did not intend to mean retirement. Rather, I wanted to distance myself from the current situation as much as possible...

After having taken my leave I began to think about the many invitations that had been extended to me. I confess I had a hard time knowing which to accept. My first preference, of course, would have been Egyptian television, but I fully appreciate that Egyptian television has to deal with particular circumstances, is governed by certain policies. That left the Arab television networks. I am not overly particular about the place in which I speak but the question remained -- where?

One day I picked up the morning newspapers. They all carried on their front pages Bush's appeal, or address, to the Arab world in which he tried to explain -- or at least contain Arab anger over -- televised images from Abu Ghraib. Then, as I glanced through the rest of the front pages I came across an item reporting that Bush had stated explicitly that he did not want to appear on Al-Jazeera. It was his only condition. So I think it was Bush -- and I'm extremely grateful to him for this -- who made up my mind. Anywhere Bush thinks inappropriate is precisely the place I imagine any Arab -- and I'm just one of many millions -- would immediately think, well, that's the place I want to speak in. I got in touch with my publishers in Cairo -- Dar El-Shuruq -- and told them, let's go for Jazeera. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 06, 04 | 10:19 pm

Israel: Palestinian State Shelved with U.S. Blessing

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israel's plan to withdraw from occupied Gaza will prevent a Palestinian state emerging and freeze peacemaking, and all with Washington's approval, a key adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon said Wednesday.

Adviser Dov Weisglass effectively dismissed an international "road map" peace plan.

His remarks, coinciding with a massive Israeli offensive into Gaza, will help Sharon win over far-right foes opposed to Gaza "disengagement" and challenging his grip on power. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 06, 04 | 10:10 pm

“Bush-Lite” or Marlboro-Lights?

Noam Chomsky has correctly and perceptively argued that although the difference between Kerry and Bush is small -- thus the “Bush-lite” label given to the former by many -- in a “system of immense power,“ a small improvement over Bush could “translate into large outcomes” in several vital areas, including healthcare and education in the domestic US agenda and world peace and the environment on the global scale. Even fractional changes in these fields, the argument went, could make life more tolerable to millions in the US and the world at large. Bush-lite, Chomsky concluded, was therefore a cut above Bush-regular.

The view from Palestine may be at variance with this logic. Palestinians like me are not betting their lives on the prospects for progress under Kerry. After all, he has already come out on record in unqualified support of Israel’s apartheid wall, colonies in the occupied territories and all the other grave violations of international law. Even under an analytical microscope, one would be hard pressed to identify the “lite” part when it comes to Israel. And this comes as no surprise. Israel has effectively secured a position of unparalleled influence over the US administration, especially as far as foreign policy towards the middle east is concerned. This is now a built-in feature of the system that will take far more than a mere change in the presidency to alter it. Moreover, Kerry, unlike Bush, may actually be able to win considerable European and international backing for essentially the same biased policy, and that would make him worse, in fact.

Lite is not always bright, it seems. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 06, 04 | 9:58 pm

Elections Will Not End the Fighting in Iraq

American generals in Iraq triumphantly announced at the weekend that they had successfully taken over Samarra and killed 125 insurgents. They failed to mention that this is the third time they have captured this particular city on the Tigris river north of Baghdad in the past 18 months.

The campaign to eliminate the no-go areas under rebel control in Iraq is getting into full swing. Fallujah is being bombed every night and may soon be subjected to ground assault. Najaf was recaptured from Shia militiamen in August and much of the city is in ruins. More...

Posted by: adminr on Oct 06, 04 | 3:59 pm

Tue Oct 05, 2004

Two Peoples, One State

Israel's untenable policy in the Middle East was more obvious than usual last week, as the Israeli Army made repeated incursions into Gaza, killing dozens of Palestinians in the deadliest attacks in more than two years, even as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon reiterated his plans to withdraw from the territory. Israel's overall strategy toward the Palestinians is ultimately self-defeating: it wants Palestinian land but not the Palestinians who live on that land.

As Christians and Muslims, the millions of Palestinians under occupation are not welcome in the Jewish state. Many Palestinians are now convinced that Israeli support for a Palestinian state is motivated not by a hope for reconciliation, but by a desire to segregate non-Jews while taking as much of their land and resources as possible. They are increasingly questioning the most commonly accepted solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict - "two states living side by side in peace and security," in the words of President Bush - and are being forced to consider a one-state solution. More...

Posted by: adminr on Oct 05, 04 | 7:20 pm

Time to Recognize State Terror

The world is dividing into two hostile camps: Islam and "us." That is the unerring message from Western governments, press, radio and television. For Islam, read terrorists. It is reminiscent of the cold war, when the world was divided between "Reds" and us, and even a strategy of annihilation was permissible in our defense. We now know, or we ought to know, that so much of that was a charade; released official files make clear the Soviet threat was for public consumption only. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 05, 04 | 12:34 am

Sun Oct 03, 2004

Understanding the Bush doctrine

10/02/04 "ICH" -- PERHAPS the most threatening document of our time is the U.S. National Security Strategy of September 2002. Its implementation in Iraq has already taken countless lives and shaken the international system to the core.
More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 03, 04 | 11:19 pm

Sat Oct 02, 2004

From Baghdad, a Wall-Street Journal's E-mail to Friends

Iraq is a "disaster" that has deteriorated "into a raging barbaric guerilla war" that will haunt the
United States for decades.

Being a foreign correspondent in Baghdad these days is like being under virtual house arrest. Forget about the reasons that lured me to this job: a chance to see the world, explore the exotic, meet new people in far away lands, discover their ways and tell stories that could make a difference. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 02, 04 | 11:12 pm

Time is running out for two states

Trade pressure on Israel would help Blair deliver his Middle East pledge

My colleague Ian Gibson MP rang me at 6.30am from his hotel in Ramallah on the West Bank. Our visit to study healthcare in occupied Palestine was about to take a personal and frightening turn. Ian had been taken ill with a suspected minor stroke. The specialist came quickly and Ian was dispatched to hospital in Jerusalem in a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance.

But at the al-Ram checkpoint, Ian's ambulance was stopped by Israeli border police. Despite his obvious ill-health - he was dry wretching - and representations from the British consulate, the ambulance was refused permission to go any further. For 70 minutes Ian was left in the ambulance before he was allowed to proceed in a different ambulance, needlessly called.

The callousness of his treatment was a clear breach of Israel's promise to the UN that ambulances should never be held up for more than 30 minutes. A Palestinian voluntary organisation, HDIP, has logged 83 deaths when access to emergency carehas been denied; 52 women have given birth at checkpoints after being refused access to hospital. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Oct 02, 04 | 8:24 am

Fri Oct 01, 2004

By Right of Birth

This summer, Martin Lukacs travelled to Israel and Palestine in search of answers

Welcome home.

Its odd to hear this as you enter a country you have never set foot in. These were the words I heard as I passed through customs at Ben-Gurion Airport and found my hand clasped in a warm, strong handshake by Schlomo Momo Lifshitz a paunchy, muscular former Army Colonel, and current director of Oranim Birthright. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Oct 01, 04 | 2:55 am