Archives: June 2005
Tue Jun 28, 2005
One question Americans should be asking the Bush administration is why it wishes to do such an expensive favor for the Iraqi people. More...
Incinerating Iraqis: The Napalm Cover-Up
You smell that? Do you smell that? Napalm, son. Nothing else in the world smells like that. I love the smell of napalm in the morning. You know, one time we had a hill bombed, for twelve hours. When it was all over I walked up. We didn't find one of 'em, not one stinkin' dink body. The smell, you know that gasoline smell, the whole hill. Smelled like... victory.”
-- Robert Duvall, “Apocalypse Now” (1979) More...
A Civilized Nation 'Teaches' Iraq Barbarism
Many historians consider Iraq as the cradle of civilization. It was in Iraq that writing was invented. It was in Iraq that the great Hammurabi's Code of Laws was first engraved. Iraq was the birthplace of Abraham, father of the Jews and the Arabs.
Sat Jun 25, 2005
The Most Cowardly War in History
Opening Statement of Arundhati Roy on behalf of the jury of conscience of the world tribunal of Iraq.
Istanbul, Turkey - This is the culminating session of the World Tribunal on Iraq. It is of particular significance that it is being held here in Turkey where the United States used Turkish air bases to launch numerous bombing missions to degrade Iraqs defenses before the March 2003 invasion and has sought and continues to seek political support from the Turkish government, which it regards as an ally. All this was done in the face of enormous popular opposition by the Turkish people. As a spokesperson for the jury of conscience, it would make me uneasy if I did not mention that the government of India is also, like the government of Turkey, positioning itself as a ally of the United States in its economic policies and the so-called War on Terror. More...
Fri Jun 24, 2005
Anglicans Target Israel
The Christian West has a marked, and growing, prejudice against the state of Israel that the government of that country ignores at its peril. The latest instance will be laid before the Anglican Consultative Council in Nottingham tomorrow, in the form of a recommendation that the 38 provinces of the worldwide Anglican Communion should consider divesting themselves of holdings in companies that support the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The recommendation stems from a report on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict issued last September by the Anglican Peace and Justice Network (APJN). One of its main backers is Bishop Riah Hanna Abu El-Assal of Jerusalem, who hosted the network's delegation during a 10-day visit. More...
The experience was almost surrealistic: I was in a hall in the centre of Gaza, facing some 500 people, all of them bearded men, nearly all of them Hamas militants. More...
Thu Jun 23, 2005
To the Gates of Gleneagles Hotel
Making the Noises Politicians Don't Want to Hear
By TARIQ ALI
The French Situationist philosopher, Guy Debord, once wrote that the consumerist society which exploits the world does so not simply through its economic power but "in its capacity as the society of the spectacle". The G8 summits have become an essential part of this spectacle. The rulers of the globe today insist on a passive acceptance of the world they have created. More...
Wed Jun 22, 2005
The BARBARIANS Guarding the Gates of Dialogue
Censorship in America is alive and well, and has been for at least the last hundred years.
In 1922 the American Film Industry introduced its ratings system, and from that point forward we have embarked upon an ever more severe self-censorship in everything that is printed, filmed, written or performed: http://www.filmsite.org /milestones1920s.html More...
Withdrawal is a prelude to annexation
US hypocrisy is not new but Condi Rice has taken it beyond chutzpah
Condoleezza Rice hailed the understanding between Israel and the Palestinian Authority on the need to destroy the homes of the 8,000 Jewish settlers in Gaza as a historic step on the road to peace. This is a fatuous statement by one of the most vacuous US secretaries of state of the postwar era.
American foreign policy has habitually displayed double standards towards the Middle East: one standard towards Israel and one towards the Arabs. To give just one example, the US effected regime change in Baghdad in three weeks but has failed to dismantle a single Jewish settlement in the occupied territories in 38 years. More...
Mon Jun 20, 2005
Divestiture of Funds that Support Israeli Occupation of Palestinian Territories
Resolution 204 passed on Saturday morning of Annual Conference, following brief but signifcant debate. The resolution calls for a comittee to be created to take action within six months to determine which investments support Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories. Investment managers are to consider divesting the funds in those companies. The conference also calls on the U.S. government, Israel, and Palestinian leadership to reject acts of aggression and violence. It also calls for affirmation of the rights of Christians, Jews, and Muslims to freedom of movement in the holy lands. More...
Sat Jun 18, 2005
U.S. Grad Students Seen Hostile To Israel
A new survey of attitudes toward Israel among graduate students at top U.S. universities offers a disturbing, if not frightening, picture of increasing sympathy for the Palestinian cause and blame on the Jewish state for the lack of peace. More...
Fri Jun 17, 2005
Academic freedom in context
The boycott of Israeli universities remains a moral imperative, write Omar Barghouti and Lisa Taraki*
The Association of University Teachers (AUT) in Britain has reversed its 22 April decision to boycott Israeli universities. If misinformation, intimidation and bullying were among the tactics used by boycott opponents to achieve this result the tool they most persistently used was the claim that the academic boycott infringes academic freedom. Freedom to produce and exchange knowledge and ideas was deemed sacrosanct regardless of the prevailing conditions. There are two key faults in this argument. It is inherently biased -- regarding as worthy only the academic freedom of Israelis. The fact that Palestinians are denied basic rights as well as academic freedom due to Israel's military occupation is lost on those parroting it. And its privileging of academic freedom as a value above all other freedoms is antithetical to the very foundation of human rights. The right to live, and freedom from subjugation and colonial rule, to name a few, must be of more import than academic freedom. If the latter contributes in any way to suppression of the former, more fundamental rights, it must give way. If the struggle to attain the former necessitates a level of restraint on the latter, then so be it. More...
Showing a sour face to the Arabs
The housing fair that took place in the north last Sunday was aimed at attracting new residents to towns in the Galilee. But it turns out that not all Israeli citizens are welcome in these "community villages." Haaretz reporter David Ratner, who was present at the fair, received the impression that the welcoming approach of agents from the Misgav Regional Council suddenly disappears when the applicant is an Arab citizen - even if he is a doctor and department chair at Poriya Hospital, a factory owner or a journalist.
The result is that the 29 community villages of the Misgav Regional Council do not contain even a single Arab resident. Council head Erez Kreisler says that Arabs do not apply, because they know that there is no "cultural infrastructure" for their absorption. It is possible that he is right and that Arabs are reluctant to apply for places in a community village whose other residents are all Jews. But it is more likely that this reluctance stems from a recognition of reality. More...
ETHNIC TRANSFER IN OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM: THE CASE OF AL-BUSTAN NEIGHBORHOOD
MINISTRY OF STATE FOR JERUSALEM AFFAIRS
Israel’s intention to demolish an entire Palestinian neighborhood in Occupied East Jerusalem is part of its on-going strategy of transferring Christians and Muslims from Jerusalem while making room for more Israeli Jewish colonies. The demolition orders, which have not been cancelled, not only violate the Fourth Geneva Convention but also (i) Phase 1 of the Road Map which requires Israel to end “actions undermining trust, including . . .confiscation/demolition of Palestinian homes/property . . .” and (ii) President Bush’s May 26, 2005 statement that “Israel should not undertake any activity that … prejudices final status negotiations with regard to … Jerusalem.” More...
Thu Jun 16, 2005
Israel, Apartheid, and Sanctions: in response to Susie Jacobs
Susie Jacobs has written a detailed paper “Israel = Apartheid?: a Comparison and Critique” (see e.g. www.ucimc.org/newswire/display/35618/index.php) comparing and contrasting Israeli society with apartheid South Africa, acknowledging a number of common features but cautioning against any over-simplified identification of the two cases when arguing for sanctions. She is not alone.
Last year, Noam Chomsky concluded that the comparison had some validity but that sanctions were inappropriate (www.chomsky.info/interviews/20040309.htm and http://blog.zmag.org/ttt/archives/000492.html) Moshé Machover (www.pamolson.org/ArtApartheid.htm) has criticised the term “apartheid” as a description of Israel - in his view the South African analogy underestimates the oppression faced by Palestinians who face expulsion rather than exploitative incorporation.
Several points which Susie does not mention, and some aspects which she does discuss, convince me that the term “apartheid” really is appropriate. More...
Two weeks ago I wrote about the decision of the British Association of University Teachers (AUT) to boycott two Israeli universities, calling upon the Palestinians and the Arabs to react to that supportive decision. Whatever reaction there, however, was came from Israel and its supporters in Britain instead. Although the issue was addressed by the British press, no significant mention was made in the Arab media save for a trickle of isolated coverages, including my own. More...
A British Union Reverses a Boycott
Many Israeli academics and their supporters welcomed the reversal of the AUT boycott. However, we are Israeli human-rights activists who want to express our disappointment and to reaffirm our support for a comprehensive boycott of Israeli academic and cultural institutions. We do so because, in Israel, "academic freedom," the main argument raised against the boycott, is being used to legitimize racism of the worst kind. As Israeli Jews who graduated from Israeli universities, we witnessed how lamentably few voices were raised against the occupation and the colonization of Palestinian land. Attempts to issue official condemnations on behalf of Israeli universities of the Israeli army's closure of Palestinian universities during the first and second intifadas failed. Likewise, none of the few student and faculty actions of solidarity with besieged Palestinian colleagues was endorsed by officials at Israeli universities. The majority of academics have either been silent or actively justified the cruel oppression of millions of Palestinians. Those few who take a dissident stand may risk their academic careers. Some Israeli scholars speak of Palestinians as "a demographic threat" and call for their "transfer," a euphemism for ethnic cleansing. Others justify horrific crimes committed against them in the name of state-building. The depressing fact is that such voices are raised not by isolated individuals but represent a trend that has gained prevalence and legitimacy. In this way, academic freedom in Israel has been perverted into a tool to create space for racist ideas and promote state policies of oppression and violence. Despite today's rhetoric about "peace," many of us who live in Israel and visit the occupied territories recognize the truth: Israel is turning Gaza into the biggest prison enclosure in the world, while engaging in continued land theft in the West Bank. The silence and complicity of Israeli academics in the face of such sweeping human-rights violations lead to one logical conclusion: It has fallen to international civil society to take steps to render the occupation untenable. The Israeli human-rights community needs assistance -- which a boycott like the British union's could have provided. That is why we are so disappointed that, instead of holding Israel accountable for its brutal treatment of Palestinians and standing firm in the face of the barrage of partisan criticism, the AUT capitulated to the so-called pro-Israel lobby. A boycott is a classic nonviolent tool for social change: the Boston Tea Party, Gandhi's boycott of British textiles, the Montgomery bus boycott that started the American civil-rights movement, and the international boycott of South Africa that played a vital role in ending apartheid. An international boycott of their universities could be the shock it takes to wake Israeli academics up, and the first step toward mobilizing other parts of society.
-- by Yehudith Harel, an Israeli organizational psychologist and one of the founders of Israeli-Palestinian Action Group for Peace; and an Israeli lawyer, a former officer in the Israeli army, who wishes to remain anonymous
New England Methodist Conference passes divestment resolution
The New England Annual Conference of United Methodist on June 11 passed a
resolution calling for voluntary selective divestment from companies that
profit in a significant way from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian
territories. A committee will be formed to prepare a list of such
companies within six months. The list will then be submitted to Methodist
churches and investment managers in the New England Conference. They will
be urged to consider divesting from these companies. More...
Wed Jun 15, 2005
Activists to protest Caterpillar in NYC on June 14th
NEW YORK - In recent weeks the Israeli government has announced plans to demolish 88 more Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem using Caterpillar bulldozers, as Israel continues to bulldoze Palestinian homes throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Simultaneously, Caterpillar executives will lead a June 14 workshop on Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibility at a conference for international business leaders at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Given CAT's continued provision of equipment for Israel's destruction of Palestinian homes and property, CAT executives are the last people who should give advice to others on such issues. More...
Mon Jun 13, 2005
Call Upon Israeli Academics
European Jews for a Just Peace, being a part of the international solidarity movement supporting the human and political rights of Israelis and Palestinians alike, calls upon Israeli academics to boycott the continuing presence of the Israeli army on Palestinian territory.
We know that many members of the Israeli academic community and indeed many other sections of Israeli society understand that such a presence is the core of the problem.
Under these circumstances, it is no longer sufficient to oppose the occupation quietly. Now, it is necessary to campaign against it as loudly as possible. More...
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PALESTINIAN AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY REGARDING PALESTINIAN-ISRAELI COOPERATION IN HEALTH
We, the undersigned, medical and health service providers and members of professional unions and research and training institutions working in the health sector in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, would like to register our protest and deep concern over the increasing pressure exerted upon us to enter into Palestinian-Israeli cooperation schemes in the sphere of health.
Such projects, largely conceived and funded by international and/or Israeli institutions, include ventures involving Israeli institutions such as the Peres Peace Center and Galilee College with the cooperation or active involvement of Palestinian health professionals, whether such involvement is in the area of training, referral to Israeli health services, capacity building, or other joint ventures; initiatives aiming at ‘promoting dialogue and collaboration between Palestinian and Israeli health professionals, NGOs and health institutions’; projects that entail joint scientific/research cooperation and publications in international journals under the general heading ‘Peace-building through joint Palestinian-Israeli health initiatives’; conferences and workshops aiming at ‘contributing to conflict resolution and harm reduction’; and presentations in conferences in joint Israeli-Palestinians sessions under rubrics such as ‘ Working towards peace in the Middle East’.
Our deep-rooted objections to such joint schemes are multiple: More...
Myth and Reality: Jewish Influence on US Middle East Policy
In working for a just resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict, we constantly bump into the fact that the powerful party is the state of one of history’s most oppressed groups. Some get frustrated by always having to address anti-Semitism while working toward a just resolution to the plight of the Palestinians. But we’re kidding ourselves if we believe for a moment that anti-Semitism is not an integral part of the problem. It is that history which creates the fear and anger that drive many Israeli policies. And if we fail to recognize the legitimate fear that history has instilled in the Jewish people, we fail before we start.
When dealing with the question of US support for Israel’s occupation, this awareness is especially critical. One of the classic anti-Semitic myths is that of Jews manipulating governments and other seats of power behind the scenes. That pretty closely describes the work of a lobby, and there is a powerful one, with a Jewish face, working to push particular policies regarding Israel. We need to understand that lobby, what its effect is, and what its nature is. That means asking, directly and fairly, is this a “Jewish lobby”, and does this lobby truly have the power to be a tail wagging the dog of American Middle East policy? More...
The British Academic Boycott of Israel: The Logic of Sanctions Dawns
On April 22, an important psychological barrier was shattered when the British Association of University Teachers (AUT) decided to boycott Haifa and Bar Ilan Universities because of their "complicity in the racist and colonial" policies of Israel. At its annual meeting, the AUT also voted to circulate the Call for Boycott issued by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) among all its branches. The Palestinian Call is supported by almost 60 of the most important unions, professional associations and educational institutions in Palestine, including the Federation of Unions of Palestinian Universities' Professors and Employees and the umbrella organization of Palestinian NGOs in the occupied West Bank (PNGO).
As expected, the Zionist campaign against the boycott has intensified dramatically, resorting to the now familiar tactics of misinformation to promote the fictional view of Israeli universities as liberal havens for those who champion Palestinian rights. Supporters of the boycott are also accused of anti-semitism, in spite of the fact that many of the most active supporters of the boycott are progressive Jews opposed to the Occupation. More...
Sun Jun 12, 2005
Al-Arian's case opens with questions of terror
The prosecution tries to link the former USF professor to killings in Israel; the defense says there's no connection.
TAMPA - "Israel. Murder. Tampa cell. Pure PIJ."
These were the words Assistant U.S. Attorney Terry Furr repeated Monday in his opening statement in the federal terrorism trial of former USF professor Sami Al-Arian.
But the prosecutor did not make clear connections between the defendants and charges that they conspired to provide "material support" to terrorists who were part of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization in Israel. More...
Line Between Ideas, Aid Is at Issue as Terrorism Trial Begins
TAMPA, Fla. — A lawyer for an ex-university professor facing charges that he supported and helped finance a terrorist group in the Middle East tore into the government's case Monday, claiming that Sami Al-Arian was being prosecuted not for any illegal deeds but for expressing pro-Palestinian views.
"This case will be about Dr. Al-Arian's right to speak, your right to hear him and the attempt of the powerful to silence him," defense lawyer William Moffitt told jurors in his opening statement. More...
Show trial in Florida: The Feds' witch-hunt of Sami Al-Arian goes to court
AFTER MORE than two years in prison--much of it spent in solitary confinement--former University of South Florida professor and political activist Sami Al-Arian finally went on trial in Tampa, Fla., this week. There's little chance, however, that Al-Arian will be able to get a fair trial.
Al-Arian faces counts of racketeering, conspiracy, materially aiding terrorists and dozens of other charges, along with eight co-defendants--Sameeh Hammoudeh, Hatem Fariz and Ghassan Ballut, as well as five others who are being charged in absentia--in a case that began more than a decade ago.
This trial is part of the U.S. government's post-September 11 witch-hunt of Arabs and Muslims. The men are accused of using an academic think tank, a Muslim school and a charity as a cover for raising money for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), a group that the U.S. State Department labeled a "terrorist organization" in 1995. More...
NETANYAHU AND THE ACADEMIC BOYCOTT
The Israeli government has chosen Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to “lead the campaign targeting Israeli academic institutions.”1 It is an interesting choice. Perhaps it indicates that Israel is concerned that the academic boycott can do damage to its already shaky economy. Or, perhaps the dapper Netanyahu was chosen because he has such a good track record communicating with and rallying the rabid right in the USA. Whatever the reason, there can be no doubt that those ruling Israel are worried. As the Finance Minister has recently put it, “The attempt to boycott Israeli academia isn’t a boycott of academia at all. It is an attempt to boycott the entire state of Israel.”2 Well, considering that the academic boycott is but one part of an comprehensive international boycott of Israel, Netanyahu has gotten it right for once. More...
Text of Green-Rainbow Party of MA statement on Palestine
Summary: In a historic event the Green-Rainbow party of MA, a party of 10,000 members with probably several hundred in Somerville, passed a comprehensive statement in support of Palestinian Human Rights.
The resolution specifically calls for:
a) Right of Return of Palestinians
b) democratic government in all of historic Palestine with equal rights for all
c) Declaration of Israel as an Apartheid State
d) Full Sanctions on Israel (end of military and economic aid as well as divestments and boycotts)
e) supporting the internationally recognized right to resist for Palestinians, and the rights of Palestinians to self-defense. More...
Fri Jun 10, 2005
US Vets Seek War Crimes Probe of 1967 IDF Attack on USS Liberty
WASHINGTON - Survivors of a U.S. spy ship attacked by Israeli fighters and torpedo boats 40 years ago are pressing the Pentagon for a full investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes for a strike that caused 205 casualties, including 34 killed. More...
Mon Jun 06, 2005
An Updated List of Vetoes Cast by the US to Shield Israel
Prior to the Nixon administration, the United States had never employed its veto power in the U.N. Security Council. It was first used March 17, 1970 over Southern Rhodesia. The second U.S. veto came two years later, when Washington sought to protect Israel from a resolution condemning Israel for one of its attacks on its neighbors. Since then, the United States has cast its veto a total of 39 times to shield Israel from Security Council draft resolutions that condemned, deplored, denounced, demanded, affirmed, endorsed, called on and urged Israel to obey the world body. More...
Sat Jun 04, 2005
Which Hunt at Columbia. Targeting the University
Targeting the university is the latest mission of right-wing forces who have hijacked not only political power and political discourse in the United States but also the very vocabulary that can be used against them. The campaign of the last three years or so to attack US universities as the last bastion where a measure of freedom of thought is still protected is engineered to cancel out such freedom and ensure that scholars will not subvert the received political wisdom of the day. More...
Fri Jun 03, 2005
CIA outrages UK academics by planting spies in classroom
Moves by the US intelligence agency to place trainee spies secretly in university anthropology departments have sparked an international outcry in the discipline, writes Phil Baty.
Anthropologists in the UK and elsewhere fear that the exercise by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) could damage the integrity of the discipline irreparably and even put anthropologists in the field at risk of physical harm as they lose the trust of the communities they study.
As part of actions taken in the US to improve intelligence gathering after the 9/11 attacks, a $4 million (£2.2 million) pilot programme was launched last year. The Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program (Prisp) funded anthropology students by up to $50,000 each through undergraduate courses if they agreed to work for the US intelligence services when they graduate.
Prisp students, who must not reveal their funding source, are required to attend military intelligence summer camps. More...
AUT boycott debate that has put Palestine back on the map
Everyone, including the movers of the motions, was taken aback by the vote at April’s conference of the AUT lecturers’ union to boycott certain Israeli universities.
The decision dramatically highlighted Israel’s oppression of the Palestinian people.
That remains a gain, despite the boycott decision being overturned at a recalled conference last week. More...
The AUT Boycott: Freedom vs. "Academic" Freedom
On May 26, the Association of University Teachers (AUT) in Britain reversed its previous decision -- taken on April 22 -- to boycott Israeli universities. Intimidation and bullying aside, no tool was as persistently used, abused and bandied about as much as the claim that academic boycott infringes on academic freedom. Freedom to produce and exchange knowledge and idea was deemed sacrosanct regardless of the prevailing conditions. There are two key faults in this argument. It is inherently biased because it only regards as worthy the academic freedom of Israelis. The fact that Palestinians are denied basic rights as well as academic freedom due to Israel's military occupation is lost on those parroting it. And its privileging of academic freedom as a super-value above all other freedoms is in principle antithetical to the very foundation of human rights. The right to live, and freedom from subjugation and colonial rule, to name a few, must be of more import than academic freedom. If the latter contributes in any way to suppression of the former, more fundamental rights, it must give way. By the same token, if the struggle to attain the former necessitates a level of restraint on the latter, then be it. It will be well worth it. More...
Targeting the University
Having usurped political power the far right has now set its sight on sabotaging the academic world, writes Joseph Massad*
Targeting the university is the latest mission of right-wing forces who have hijacked not only political power and political discourse in the United States but also the very vocabulary that can be used against them. The campaign of the last three years or so to attack US universities as the last bastion where a measure of freedom of thought is still protected is engineered to cancel out such freedom and ensure that scholars will not subvert the received political wisdom of the day.
Some of the major tactics in this campaign have been the launching of witch hunts against specific professors, calling for their dismissal from their jobs, and, failing that, smear their reputation; target Middle East Studies as a scholarly field more generally and cut federal funding to it and place it under governmental supervision, and promote apologists for Israel in the guise of scholars as the only adequate scholarly alternative. While shutting down the educational process in favour of religious theories of creationism and the like has been around for a while, the recent attack on scholars who disagree with US foreign policy and the policies of the state of Israel are the main mobilisational issues of the current campaign. More...
Outcry Over Boycott Breaker
The Union of Palestinian University Teachers and Employees (UUTE) has strongly denounced Al-Quds University President Sari Nusseibah for "normalising with Israel" and "serving Israeli propaganda interests". More...
Thu Jun 02, 2005
Netanyahu to lead campaign against academic boycott
Universities fear additional attempts to declare boycott of Israel are expected in the near future.
Finance Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to lead the campaign against the academic boycott targeting Israeli academic institutions. More...
One Hand Clapping: Tolerance and Pluralism in Israeli Academia
International support for Israel turns on the uncritical acceptance of the Jewish state as bravely fulfilling the obligations of a Western-style democracy in an otherwise hostile region. In reality, this is simply a PR-friendly re-branding of an old Herzlian notion. In The Jewish State, Theodor Herzl, the premier Zionist ideologue, envisioned that the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine would form, “part of a wall of defense for Europe in Asia, an outpost of civilization against barbarism.” More...
Wed Jun 01, 2005
Israeli Firms Run Vast Spy Ring
Police in Israel say they have uncovered a huge industrial spying ring which used computer viruses to probe the systems of many major companies. More...