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Archives: February 2005

Sun Feb 27, 2005

Ringworm and Radiation

On August 14, at 9 PM, Israel's Channel Ten television screened a documentary film which exposes the ugliest secret of Israel's Labor party founders: the deliberate mass radiation poisoning of nearly all Sephardi youths of a generation.

"The Ringworm Children" (translated in Hebrew as "100,000 Rays"), directed by David Belhassen and Asher Hemias, recently won the prize for "best documentary" at the Haifa International film festival, and in the past year has made the rounds of Jewish and Israeli film festivals around the world. But it had yet to come to Israeli television screens. The subject is the mass irradiation of hundreds of thousands of young Israeli immigrants from Middle Eastern countries -- Sephardim, as they are called today. The story goes like this: More...

Posted by: adminr on Feb 27, 05 | 7:09 pm

Sat Feb 26, 2005

Honderich is wrong about Zionism, Israel, and about terrorism too

This is a response to an article by Ted Honderich, published in Counterpunch. See http://www.counterpunch.com/honderich02192005.html

Professor Ted Honderich concludes his recent CounterPunch article ["On Being Persona Non Grata to Palestinians, Too", CounterPunch, Feb. 19, 2005] with:

"A summary then: (1) In 1948 Zionism was right. (2) In 2005, given history since 1948, the existence of the state of Israel within its original borders requires our moral defence, as does its secure future. (3) Also from the perspective of 2005, the founding of the state of Israel in Palestine was wrong, on account of the reality of the Palestinians as a people, proved thereafter. (4) Neo-Zionism is obviously viciously wrong. The importance of the third proposition, the judgement now on 1948, is that it contributes to the foundation of something else. That is (5) that the Palestinians have had a moral right to their terrorism against the enlarging of Israel. No change in thinking there."

Wrong on all counts

Honderich states that "Zionism was right in 1948". However, any nationalism calling for an exclusive homeland requiring the expulsion of the "natives" was as evil in 1948 as it is today. The foundation of the State of Israel was an historical mistake, and this crime was made possible thanks to the British imposition of the Jewish migration to Palestine. As Tanya Reinhart, an Israeli Jew herself, admitted in her book How to End the War of 1948, Israel was born in original sin. If Honderich insists on referring to moral arguments, then he should note that although the United Nations may have approved the formation of the state, that doesn’t make it morally right, given that it was imposed at the cost of the local population. It is also not surprising that Palestinians will reject this aspect of his stance. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 26, 05 | 6:57 pm

Leave our country now

We lived through dark days under Saddam Hussein's dictatorship. When the regime fell, people wanted a new life: a life without shackles and terror; a life where we could rebuild our country and enjoy its natural wealth. Instead, our communities have been attacked with chemicals and cluster bombs, and our people tortured, raped and killed in our homes. More...

Posted by: adminr on Feb 26, 05 | 10:11 am

Gaza ‘out,’ West Bank ‘in’

TEL AVIV - The government is planning a construction boom in West Bank settlements that includes authorizing existing illegal outposts, Yediot Ahronot reported Friday.

Under the scheme, 120 unauthorized West Bank outposts, which the United States wants to see dismantled, would be retroactively approved, the newspaper said. More...

Posted by: adminr on Feb 26, 05 | 10:05 am

Two Murders and a Lie

Reporters Without Borders called today for the reopening of the enquiry into who was really responsible for the US Army's "criminal negligence" in shooting at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad on 8 April 2003 and causing the death of two journalists - Ukrainian cameramen Taras Protsyuk (of Reuters news agency) and Spaniard José Couso (of the Spanish TV station Telecinco). More...

Posted by: adminr on Feb 26, 05 | 9:58 am

Report: Israel to expand settlements

Israel plans to build more than 6000 homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank this year, an Israeli newspaper has said.

The reported settlement expansion project of the Israel Lands Administration (ILA), a government agency, would coincide with Israel's plan to pull out of the Gaza Strip this summer and defy US calls for a freeze in "settlement activity". More...

Posted by: adminr on Feb 26, 05 | 9:52 am

Thu Feb 24, 2005

Columbia U. Professor, Criticized for Views on Israel, Is Banned From

The New York City Department of Education will prohibit a professor of Arab studies at Columbia University from appearing in an occasional training program for secondary-school teachers, citing the professor's criticism of Israel.

Rashid Khalidi, director of Columbia's Middle East Institute, had spoken this month at one of a series of teacher-development workshops, paid for by the university, about Middle Eastern culture and politics. But last week, after The New York Sun published an article assailing Mr. Khalidi's involvement in the program, Joel I. Klein, the city's schools chancellor, announced that the professor would no longer be allowed to participate. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 24, 05 | 10:44 am

World Council of Churches gives nod to Israeli divestment proposal

The World Council of Churches (WCC) on February 21 urged its members to consider economic measures to oppose Israeli occupation of Palestinian territory and praised the action of a U.S. denomination that has started a process of selective divestment from companies linked to the occupation.

"Multinational corporations have been involved in the demolition of Palestinian homes," the WCC's main governing body said in a statement adopted during a February 15-22 meeting in Geneva. They "are involved in the construction of settlements and settlement infrastructure on occupied territory, in building a dividing wall which is also largely inside occupied territory, and in other violations of international law." More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 24, 05 | 10:40 am

Vandals foul Palestinian village's water supply

The Madama village's spring was deliberately contaminated and its water supply system was sabotaged 10 days ago, village council head Ayed Kamal said Sunday.

This is the sixth time in the past three years that the spring, the only source of water of the village's 1,700 residents, and the water system, has been deliberately damaged.

The village is located near the extremist Yitzhar settlement and its outposts.

An Oxfam delegation, accompanied by an Israel Defense Forces unit for protection, set out last Thursday to gauge the damage. The Oxfam group needed protection after armed Israelis opened fire on workers repairing the spring and water pipes on two previous occasions during 2002. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 24, 05 | 10:31 am

World Council of Churches Asks Members to Consider Bringing Economic Pressure on Israel

Published on Wednesday, February 23, 2005 by the Associated Press

NEW YORK - The governing body of the World Council of Churches has asked its members to consider bringing economic pressure on companies that benefit from Israeli policy in the Palestinian territories. American Jewish leaders have condemned the recommendation as biased.

The Central Committee of the Geneva-based ecumenical group said Monday that its members should look to the Presbyterian Church, (U.S.A.), as a model for pursuing divestment. The Presbyterians voted last year to research divesting from companies that profit from the Israeli presence in the West Bank and Gaza - a strategy the World Council committee said was "commendable in both method and manner" and "uses criteria rooted in faith." More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 24, 05 | 10:29 am

Tue Feb 22, 2005

A matter of principle

One can see it as a private problem of four Gazan students - Bashar Abu Shahla, Walid Mahna, Mohammed Matar and Bashar Abu Salim. The four were about to complete their studies at the engineering department of Bir Zeit University this year. They were supposed to begin their last semester Sunday. But the Israel Defense Forces expelled them to Gaza in November.

Like the other 30 Gazans still studying at Bir Zeit (compared to some 350 in 2000), they had no opportunity to extend their residency permits in the West Bank. During the past four years, the Israeli authorities, which are in charge of granting transit and residency permits, agreed to handle only urgent "humanitarian" issues of Palestinians who asked permission to enter or leave Gaza. The right to study was not among them. Students who returned to Gaza during vacations did not receive permits from the IDF to return to the West Bank, and missed out on their studies. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 22, 05 | 12:25 pm

Mechanisms of Denial: Justin Podur interviews Ilan Pappe

lan Pappe is a professor of History at Haifa University in Israel. He is an activist for Palestinian rights. He was in Toronto in February to give the keynote speech at ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ at the University of Toronto. He was interviewed by telephone on February 5, 2005.

Podur: In your book, A History of Modern Palestine (Cambridge 2004) you use what you identify as a ‘humanist’ approach. You contrast the ‘humanist’ version of history with the different ‘nationalist’ versions of history that exist. What’s the difference and why does it matter?

Pappe: The official histories of Israel and Palestine have been loyal either to the Zionist narrative or to the Palestinian nationalist perspective. This is a view from the top: generals, politicians, elites. This history doesn’t deal with the majority, the majority of the people who are not part of this political and military game. But when you try to approach history from the perspective of the majority, the excluded, you see this political game in a different light. You see how manipulative and deliberately deceptive political elites can be. You see the conflict is not the natural result of some collision of peoples, but the result of deliberate human engineering and policy. If you can really understand the past, as I try to, if you can look at it honestly, that’s the only solid basis for trying to build a future. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 22, 05 | 9:44 am

CNI INFO ALERT: Israeli Cabinet Votes in Favor of Land Grab -- and also to Evacuate Gaza Settlements

Hiding behind a 17-5 decision announced today to evacuate all Israeli settlements from Gaza, the Israeli Cabinet also officially signaled its intent by a vote of 20-1 to annex another 7% of Palestinian territory. On February 21, the cabinet published the new route of the Apartheid Wall, indicating that the huge settlements of Maale Aduminim and a large cluster of settlements called Gush Etzion lying east and south of Jerusalem would enclosed by the Wall and thus become part of Israel.

Under the new route, it is reckoned that 10,000 Palestinians, not 93,000 as originally envisaged, would be put under direct Israeli rule. But the 177,000 or more Palestinians living in East Jerusalem will be cut off from the rest of the West Bank. The Palestinians are still expecting to name their capital in Jerusalem. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 22, 05 | 9:25 am

Sun Feb 20, 2005

The Plunder of Iraq's Treasures

CARACAS - One million books, 10 million documents and 14,000 archaeological artifacts have been lost in the US-led invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq - the biggest cultural disaster since the descendants of Genghis Khan destroyed Baghdad in 1258, Venezuelan writer Fernando Baez told Inter Press Service (IPS)

"US and Polish soldiers are still stealing treasures today and selling them across the borders with Jordan and Kuwait, where art merchants pay up to $57,000 for a Sumerian tablet," said Baez, who was interviewed during a brief visit to Caracas. (A Sumerian tablet is pictured at right.) More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 20, 05 | 3:48 pm

Democracy versus demography

Yitzhak Laor argued that the demand for a referendum is not democratic but meant to consolidate an ethnocentric regime ("Referendum means apartheid," Haaretz, February 3). He also called on "doves" who support the disengagement to stop the formalist-legalist discussion and raise democratic arguments about the rights of the Palestinians. I agree with his criticism but the question is, why is there no real democratic discourse in Israel?

The position of strength of the Yesha zealots in Israeli politics is not numerical. They do not have a coherent strategy for the future of the country. Their strength is in the discourse, language and myths that grant legitimacy to the regime, and the "doves" of Labor and Yahad share that with the messianic zealots.

Disengagement opponents use everything that "works" in the public discourse: the Jews as victims, Holocaust, democracy. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 20, 05 | 8:51 am

JNF-owned company bought land in the territories

Fund used subsidiary Himnuta to acquire land near Green Line in the Jerusalem area

Since 1967, tens of thousands of dunams of land have been purchased by the Jewish National Fund in areas of strategic importance in Judea and Samaria. The lands share a common location: They are all near the Green Line, in areas which will be up for negotiation in the event of an Israel withdrawal to the 1949-1967 armistice lines. The lands were purchased with funds from the state and the World Zionist Organization, through Himnuta - a subsidiary established by the JNF to carry out complex and discreet transactions. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 20, 05 | 8:42 am

Fri Feb 11, 2005

Dismantling the Politics of Comfort

Ward Churchill is perhaps one of the most provocative thinkers around. A Creek and enrolled Keetoowah Band Cherokee, Churchill is a longtime Native rights activist. He has been heavily involved in the American Indian Movement and the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. He is Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado and has served as a delegate to the UN Working Group on Indigenous Populations.

One of Churchill’s areas of expertise is the history of the U.S. government’s genocide of Native Americans—the chronic violation of treaties and systematic extermination of North American indigenous populations. His many books include A Little Matter of Genocide: Holocaust and Denial in the Americas: 1492 to Present (1998) and The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in the U.S. (2nd edition, 2002). His new book, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens: Reflections on the Consequences of U.S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality, was just published by AK Press (www.akpress.org).

As a member of a people who have been on the receiving end of violence, Churchill has a rather distinct perspective of the U.S. and the effectiveness of political dissent and social change. Ward Churchill recently shared some of his views with Catherine Clyne. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 11, 05 | 3:56 pm

Thu Feb 10, 2005

A shameful kind of Zionist

It's been a long time since Zionism had such a revival. Everyone's joining in the cause to affirm their contradictory position on the issue that is the heart and soul of Zionism - "redemption of the land."

The attorney general's decision to put an end to the Jewish National Fund's discrimination when it comes to leasing land to Arabs - and his finding of a way to perpetuate that discrimination through "alternative lands" - has been praised by Yossi Beilin, who found it was a "redemption of Zionism," and vehemently condemned by MKs on the right, who called it "anti-Zionist." More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 10, 05 | 9:49 pm

There will be no Middle East peace without justice

At no point yesterday did anyone mention occupation. Like sex, it had to be censored out

So, the Palestinians will end their occupation of Israel. No more will Palestinian tanks smash their way into Haifa and Tel Aviv. No more will Palestinian F-18s bomb Israeli population centres. No more will Palestinian Apache helicopters carry out "targeted killings" - ie: murders - of Israeli military leaders. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 10, 05 | 9:19 am

The Blood of Iman Al-Hamas

And the blood of Iman al-Hamas - on whose hands is her blood? With or without the confirmed killing, the soldiers in R.'s unit, with him or without him at the Girit outpost in Rafah, killed the 13-year-old schoolgirl who was walking on October 5 with her schoolbag in broad daylight. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 10, 05 | 9:10 am

Tue Feb 08, 2005

RESOLUTION ON UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN INVESTMENTS AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY

WHEREAS, American principles, values, and traditions emphasize the right of the individual to basic freedoms without regard to ethnic origin or religious affiliation and support the protection and extension of these freedoms to all peoples around the globe, and where the systematic denial of these freedoms prompted the University of Wisconsin System to take action by divesting its holdings in Apartheid era South Africa, in accordance with investment policy 78-1;

WHEREAS, independent human rights organizations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem, Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, and Al-Haq; the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and numerous NGOs have documented serious and widespread violations of international law and the human rights of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces operating in the West Bank and Gaza; More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 08, 05 | 10:37 am

AAUP Statement on Professor Ward Churchill Controversy

We have witnessed an extraordinary outpouring of criticism aimed both at Professor Ward Churchill of the University of Colorado at Boulder, for his written remarks describing victims of the attacks on September 11, 2001, as "little Eichmanns," and at the invitation for him to speak at Hamilton College in New York. Television commentators urged viewers to write to Hamilton College to condemn what the professor had written and the college’s decision to invite him. More than 6,000 e-mail messages were sent to Hamilton College president Joan Hinde Stewart, who described them as “ranging from angry to profane, obscene, violent.” The governor of New York wrote a letter of protest to President Stewart and in a dinner banquet described Professor Churchill as a "bigoted terrorist supporter." The governor of Colorado called on the professor to resign from the University of Colorado and, one day later, called for his dismissal. Professor Churchill reports that he and his wife have received more than 100 death threats. The prospect of violence at Hamilton College led the administration there to cancel the visit.

The American Association of University Professors, since its founding in 1915, has been committed to preserving and advancing principles of academic freedom in this nation’s colleges and universities. Freedom of faculty members to express views, however unpopular or distasteful, is an essential condition of an institution of higher learning that is truly free. We deplore threats of violence heaped upon Professor Churchill, and we reject the notion that some viewpoints are so offensive or disturbing that the academic community should not allow them to be heard and debated. Also reprehensible are inflammatory statements by public officials that interfere in the decisions of the academic community. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 08, 05 | 10:14 am

N.Y. college cancels talk

Ward Churchill, who quit as department chair over his 9/11 comments, insists he won't resign as teacher.

Hamilton College in New York has canceled the panel discussion featuring controversial University of Colorado ethnic- studies professor Ward Churchill, citing dozens of threats to the college and members of the panel.

But 9/11 victims' relatives, who decry Churchill's description of World Trade Center victims as "little Eichmanns," say their protests were what forced the school to reconsider. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 08, 05 | 10:12 am

Speaking out about Israel to save the Jewish soul

Every time a Gazan father faints as he watches his family home demolished; every time a Jew, Muslim or Christian is violently attacked by armed Israelis because they are non-violently protesting the separation wall; every time a rain of Israeli army bullets flies into the body of a young child on her way to school; every time a young Palestinian man is made to play violin by Israeli soldiers, or a pregnant woman dies at a checkpoint, Jews like us must speak out.

Remaining silent is no longer an option. We can no longer let our trauma, our deep fear of anti-Jewish hatred implanted in us through generations of persecution, make us remain quiet at the expense of truth. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 08, 05 | 10:06 am

PRESS RELEASE: CNI Protests New Aid for Israeli Occupation

In a letter to President Bush, Eugene Bird, President of the Council for the National Interest, agreed with Jewish organizations, including Americans for Peace Now, in protesting the latest request for aid, a reported $180 million to help construct new "state of the art" checkpoints along the security wall separating Israelis and Palestinians.


"These checkpoints are not all located in Israeli territory, but are mostly located on Palestinian land illegally enclosed by the construction of the Separation Wall. We understand the security interest Israel might have in constructing a wall, as long as it follows the Green Line, which Israel agreed to withdraw to in accepting the 1967 UN Security Council Resolution 242, which is still accepted as the basis of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 08, 05 | 10:02 am

Fri Feb 04, 2005

University of Wisconsin Faculty Call for Israel Divestment

(Madison, WI- 02/01/05) – The Faculty Senate of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville adopted a resolution last week demanding that the University divest from companies that provide the Israeli Army with weapons, equipment, and supporting systems.

The resolution urges the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents to eliminate investments in Caterpillar, General Dynamics, General Electric, Lockheed Martin, Northrop-Grumman, and Raytheon from the University’s Trust Fund “based on evidence of the active role these companies play in enabling Israeli Forces to engage in practices that violate international law and the human rights of the Palestinian people.” More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 04, 05 | 3:34 am

Churchill Replies

In the last few days there has been widespread and grossly inaccurate media coverage concerning my analysis of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, coverage that has resulted in defamation of my character and threats against my life. What I actually said has been lost, indeed turned into the opposite of itself, and I hope the following facts will be reported at least to the same extent that the fabrications have been. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 04, 05 | 3:23 am

ANOTHER ACTIVIST PROFESSOR UNDER SERIOUS ATTACK

After finding himself at the center of a media firestorm--and receiving a barrage of death threats--AK Press author, Ward Churchill, has stepped down from his position as Chair of the Ethnic Studies Department at the University of Colorado. Not satisfied with this, Colorado Governor Bill Owens is demanding that Ward resign his position as a tenured professor as well.

The controversy is based on an essay Ward wrote soon after 9-11, which he later expanded into an AK Press book, On the Justice of Roosting Chickens: Reflections on the Consequences of U.S. Imperial Arrogance and Criminality. Conservative protestors used the essay to force Hamilton College in New York to cancel a speaking engagement Ward had scheduled there. The mainstream media (including Bill O¹Reilly and Fox News) has picked up the story, distorting and misrepresenting the facts, as usual. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 04, 05 | 3:21 am

Wed Feb 02, 2005

National and Women’s Liberation: The Iraqi Resistance and the Blackmail Campaign of “Iraqi Women Organizations”

[From the editorial board of the Free Arab Voice: For many leftists in the west, especially in the United States, the question of Iraq remains shrouded in ambiguity. They know that supporting an occupation isn't right, only they keep hearing these supposedly labor and women’s groups saying "we need the occupation". So when the left in the US denounces the occupation of Iraq, it can only do so half-heartedly because leftists are supposed to admit at the same time "it’s doing some good". The result is that the left is in horrible confusion and therefore deadlocked - except for a handful of activists. Partly that's Zionist influence in the left in the west, but it’s due as well to this flood of all sorts of disinformation, especially disinformation about the Iraqi Resistance. To this end, Nada Al-Rubaiee’s piece comes to fill a very important void. The Editorial Board of the FREE ARAB VOICE www.freearabvoice.org ]

Nada Al-Rubaiee
Member of the Central Committee of the Iraqi Patriotic Alliance ( IPA)

During Bush’s campaign to invade Iraq, issues concerning Iraqi women were raised on several occasions. Part of this “feminist” hoopla was carried out by a few Iraqi women who promoted the invasion as a means of “liberating” Iraqi women from male and state repression. After the desired “liberation” of Iraq was accomplished, some of these same women were appointed to ‘prestigious’ positions in different occupation institutions of the “New Iraq” like the Iraqi Governing Council (IGC) and the Interim Iraqi Government of Ayad Allawy (Prime Minster). Others started operating openly inside Iraq under the banner of foreign-financed so-called NGO’s, as well as human rights and women’s organizations. More...

Posted by: Mona Baker on Feb 02, 05 | 2:30 am

Tue Feb 01, 2005

Professor Quits Post after 9/11 Remark

A University of Colorado at Boulder professor who became the target of widespread outrage after he called the Sept. 11 victims "little Eichmanns" has resigned as chairman of that school's ethnic studies department, though he will continue to teach there. More...

Posted by: nachoua on Feb 01, 05 | 11:24 pm