Friday, 31 December 2010
Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat on Thursday told a delegation of international Jewish students that the world should boycott products of the settlements, and not Israel. Speaking at the annual congress of the World Union of Jewish Students in Jerusalem, Erekat delivered a positive message of peace to an audience of Jewish student leaders from around the world.
Prior to the address students expressed mixed feelings about his presence at the conference, with some opting to boycott the session. Joshua Benjamin, a South African delegate at the congress said he was cautious of Erekat’s motives. “As pro Israel Jews we can sometimes be too dismissive of the Palestinian claim, but we are also legitimately wary of the two faced nature of some Palestinian politicians,” he said.
Most students however were eager to hear firsthand the official Palestinian line on contentious subjects such as borders, Jerusalem, boycotts and prospects for peace. During the Q&A session that followed, they challenged Erekat with tough questions relating to the current status of Israelis and Palestinians in the region, and many expressed their concern for the future of the Jewish state.
“I am not here to make propaganda, I do peace because I believe it is do-able,” said Erekat, explaining that the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians is not a religious one. “My world is divided between those who are pro-peace and those who are not,” he said “I don’t think God is anti-peace.”
Erekat emphasized that the only chance for peace is the two state solution. “We’ve come a long way in the negotiations,” he said, “75% of Palestinians support a two state solution and we want to make peace with all of Israel. It is not just about putting everyone to their sides, we are destined to live together.
Adamant that America is not going to be the one to make peace for Israelis and Palestinians, Erekat said “the US administration can facilitate and help but only we can do this.”
“Mr Netanyahu, I want to hear you utter the words “Two States on 1967 borders. Say it,” he demanded, adding that Israel should be the first country to extend such recognition. The history of Jewish-Arab relations can change,” he said.
“We have no army, no air force, and no economy—who said life is about fairness and justice?” he asked, “We offer Israelis recognition based on the 1967 borders and are confronted with illegal settlements, the only option is two states and we want the Israeli government to recognize a Palestinian state.”
Erekat insisted that the Palestinian people recognize the social and religious fabric of Israeli society. “Israel is the state of Israel” he said, “We are not going to ask Israel to be another country, but don’t ask me to be a Zionist. I am not.”
When probed on his thoughts on the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, Erekat said “we are only boycotting products from the settlements,” adding that the official Palestinian position is that the world should boycott Israeli products and not Israel.
Another student asked for his views on captive soldier Gilad Shalit, to which he responded, “we have nothing to do with Gilad Shalit—we have no influence—Hamas threw us out of Gaza” he said, adding that he fully supports an agreement that will see the release of Gilad Shalit and the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.
Concluding on a more personal note, Erekat told the students that he doesn’t want his son to be a suicide bomber. “It is not healthy to bring kids up on hatred, it corrupts and it destroys,” he said. “I want him to be like you. I give him hope because our children deserve a better life.”
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post following his address, Erekat said he would give the exact same address to a group of Arab students. “These are my positions, I can’t claim to represent anything else.”
The "enlightened international community's" silence over unending Arab Jew-hatred is deafening. The double standard against Israel continues.
The "enlightened international community's" silence over unending Arab Jew-hatred is deafening. The double standard against Israel continues.
Pal. Authority: Death Penalty for Selling Land to JewsBy Tzippe BarrowCBN News Internet Producer - JerusalemMonday, September 20, 2010
JERUSALEM, Israel - Israel's peace partner reaffirmed on Sunday that Palestinians convicted of selling land to Jews would face the death penalty for "high treason."PA officials claim the death penalty deters Arabs from selling land to Jews living in Judea and Samaria, which they envision free of Jewish residents in a future Palestinian state.But one Palestinian affairs expert said while such laws may deter the sale of land, they give credence to the perception of Palestinian terrorism.Dr. Hillel Frisch of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University said imposing the death penalty for the sale of land is "pretty stringent in the modern conception of human rights.""It certainly reflects that a Palestinian democracy has already been placed in the coffin a long time ago," Dr. Frisch told CBN News. "The idea even of a semi-liberal state is long past us," he said.Sunday's ruling was based on the PA's "Property Law for Foreigners," an updated version of a Jordanian law entitled, "Law for Preventing the Sale of Real Estate to the Enemy," enforced between 1948 and 1967 when Jordan occupied Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.During the 19-year occupation, which followed the 1948 War of Independence, Jordan annexed Judea and Samaria, renaming it the "West Bank."The Jordanians also divided Jerusalem for the first time ever, evicted thousands of Israeli Jews from their homes, and made the Old City's Western Wall off limits for Jewish prayer.The ruling by Judge Ta'et At-Twil followed an appeal by PA Prosecutor-General Ahmed al-Mughni against a lower court decision that such acts were a "minor offense," the Palestinian Authority news agency Ma'an reported.Though an official execution has not yet taken place, the PA has abducted Arabs in Jerusalem who sold land to Jews, according to Dr. Frisch. Some experts say many of them were mysteriously killed.
Wednesday, 29 December 2010
|Israel is tracking an Asian aid ship that has docked in Syria and has declared plans to sail to the Gaza Strip to break the Israel-imposed sea blockade over the Palestinian territory.|
According to press reports, the Asia 1 ship carrying around 160 activists, is waiting for Egyptian government approval to sail to the port of El Arish and from there to then sail to Gaza. The ship is reportedly carrying $1 million worth of supplies including a large medical shipment donated by the Iranian Red Crescent.
Gaza bound flotilla arrives in Lebanon
The group met last week with Hamas’s Damascus-based leader Khaled Mashal and was told that the Palestinians were “fighting for a real state without any occupation and with Jerusalem as its capital.”
The ship is the first vessel to set sail from Asia bound for the Gaza Strip. Among its passengers are citizens reportedly from India, Jordan, Iran, Indonesia, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, Bahrain, Malaysia, Japan and Bangladesh.
Israel has made clear that it will not allow ships to sail freely into the Gaza Strip but will board and tow them to the Ashdod Port where their cargo will be inspected and if cleared allowed to be transferred to Gaza. Israel’s concern is that Hamas will use the aid convoys to smuggle advanced weaponry and high-grade explosives into the Gaza Strip.
by Richard Gold
Shortly before Christmas, the media picked up on anti-semitic comments made on Facebook by University of London Union President Clare Solomon (a member of Counterfire, a group expelled from the SWP). This is an issue where the student left should proceed carefully, because these new media attacks on Clare cannot be entirely separated from an ongoing right-wing campaign to discredit the student movement. We must vigorously oppose such witch-hunts. At the same time, as left activists within the student movement, we see it as our duty to condemn Clare’s comments and moreover to criticise the deeply flawed brand of left politics out of which they emerged.
This is what Clare said:
“Actually, there is no such thing as the ‘Jewish race’. Yes, there is the Jewish religion but not a Jewish people per se. Identity politics is a very fashionable argument at the moment. It questions the samenesses that group people together. I think you’ll find that there is no one way of being Jewish.
“The view that Jews have been persecuted all throughout history is one that has been fabricated in the last 100 or so years to justify the persecution of Palestinians.
“Although history is obviously a little hard to revisit, it is wrong to write off all the places where Jews, Muslims and Christians (and other faiths/non-faiths) have lived together.
“I think you’ll also find that ALL religions have had their oppressors-some worse than others true, but to paint the picture that ALL Jews have ALWAYS had to flee persecution is just plainly inaccurate.”
(Italics our emphasis)
(Italics our emphasis)
Before we go any further, we want to make it absolutely clear that we are not chiming in with the predominantly right-wing thrust of most of the coverage so far. Clare’s comments were made on 1 May; they seem to have been brought up now, seven months later, as part of a right-wing campaign to discredit the growing student anti-cuts movement. In particular, the Daily Mail has openly tried to ‘tag’ the whole student activist movement with Clare’s comments and by doing so discredit our magnificent fightback.
As president of ULU and a high profile figure in the recent protests, Clare has come under attack from the right repeatedly. The current furore cannot be entirely separated from those attacks. We condemn such attempts to undermine our movement – particularly from the likes of the Daily Mail, with its own rabid record of racism including a history of anti-semitism (“Hurrah for the Blackshirts!”) We oppose the pseudo-campaign to oust Clare – which in concrete terms, if it really amounted to anything, would be a right-wing campaign to remove a prominent left-wing student officer. And the implication that the student struggle against fees and cuts is defined by Clare’s politics on the questions of Israel-Palestine and anti-semitism is wrong and should be resisted.
Nonetheless, Clare’s comments are now public and require a response. We do not accept the Tory press’ right to act as the arbiter of anti-racist standards in our movement; but that is all the more reason why left-wing student activists have a duty to speak out according to our own standards.
What Clare wrote is anti-semitic – and she does not deny she wrote it. She was quoted in the Queen Mary student newspaper explaining herself: “This badly-worded comment was something that I wrote in haste on Facebook at a very busy period. I’m sorry for any misunderstandings caused by what I wrote.” She effectively retracted the worst bit of what she had said (the bit in italics above): “My position is that Jewish people have always been persecuted throughout history nowhere more than during the holocaust when 6 million were murdered by the Nazi’s [sic]. I am totally against anti-Semitism and any persecution and oppression of Jewish people as I am against the oppression people [sic] on the grounds of any race or religion.”
Writing in haste is no excuse. In fact, carelessness probably revealed an underlying train of political thought. That Clare has made a retraction is welcome, but it does not solve the broader political issue.
The question is: why would a socialist write something like that? But it is not just a case of Clare Solomon! Many on the far left, most notably the SWP and now Counterfire, have adopted politics on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which push them in the direction of such stupidity. In place of rational criticism of Israel and condemnation of the Israeli government’s colonial war against the Palestinians, we get a mindless condemnation of all things Israeli or connected to Israel, and a grotesquely distorted version of “anti-Zionism” which in some cases can veer into conspiracy theories and, yes, anti-semitism.
One common element is the presentation of Israel’s founding, and its dispossession of the Palestinians, as purely and simply a malign conspiracy by Zionists, writing out or minimising the history of anti-semitic persecution, the Holocaust, the complex role of British imperialism (playing off the two nationalities against each other, rather than simply backing the Jews against the Arabs as is often claimed) and attacks on Israel by the surrounding Arab states.
This is the political matrix from which Clare’s claim that the history of anti-semitism has been invented in order to do down the Palestinians emerged. (We don’t deny, of course, that some, for instance on the Israeli right, cry anti-semitism even at legitimate, rational, anti-racist criticism of the Israeli government. But that is a different issue – and the point is that Clare’s criticism was not that sort!)
This is part of a wider phenomenon on the British left. Witness, for instance, the SWP’s repeated invitations to anti-semitic conspiracy theorist Gilad Atzmon to speak at their events as an authority on Palestinian solidarity; or their promotion of Hamas and Hezbollah in the anti-war movement. Obviously no socialist is individually hostile to Jewish people in the way the far right is; the problem is the politics advocated by some socialists.
While defending our movement and its activists against the attacks of the right, Workers’ Liberty will continue to challenge the politics which prompted Clare to make the comments she did from our own, socialist, point of view, fighting within the student movement for consistent opposition to all forms of racism, and rational solidarity with the Palestinians in place of demonising Israel.
Some people gets it wrong sometimes in stating that "Zionism is a response to anti-Semitism" which totally inaccurate and plays right into the hands of those the Jewish community our outside it. It allows them to characterise the creation of Israel as European guilt over the Holocaust and lends credence to delegitimisation.
Zionism has existed ever since G-d told Abraham to pack his bags in the Fertile Crescent and move to Canaan to set up shop. Zionism was a source of consolation during 2,000 years in the Diaspora after the Roman expulsion scattered the Jews to the four corners of the Earth. A promise to return to ancestral lands in Israel provided the hope needed to withstand repeated pogroms and denial of equal rights in all parts of the world.
Political Zionism arose in the late-19th century not because of European anti-Semitism, but as a nationalist movement consistent with other nationalist movements sweeping Europe at the time. Anti-Semitism was no worse in the 19th century as any other time in the Middle Ages. The new Zionism merely expressed, in a political manner, a belief held by Jews for thousands of years.
It is the use of Zionism as a cover for anti-Semitism that is the issue.
Zionism is the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, which holds that Jews, like any other nation, are entitled to a homeland.
History has demonstrated the need to ensure Jewish security through a national homeland. Zionism recognizes that Jewishness is defined by shared origin, religion, culture and history.
The realization of the Zionist dream is exemplified by more than four million Jews, from more than 100 countries, including dark-skinnedJews from Ethiopia, Yemen and India, who are Israeli citizens. Approximately 1,000,000 Muslim and Christian Arabs, Druze, Baha'is,Circassians and other ethnic groups also are represented in Israel's population.
Many Christians have traditionally supported the goals and ideals of Zionism. Israel's open and democratic character and its scrupulous protection of the religious and political rights of Christians and Muslims rebut the charge of exclusivity.
The Arab states define citizenship strictly by native parentage. It is almost impossible to become a naturalized citizen in many Arab states, especially Algeria, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. Several Arab nations have laws that facilitate the naturalization of foreign Arabs, with the specific exception of Palestinians. Jordan, on the other hand, instituted its own "law of return" in 1954, according citizenship to all former residents of Palestine, except for Jews.
The presence of thousands of black Jews in Israel is the best refutation of the calumny against Zionism. In a series of historic airlifts, labeled Moses (1984), Joshua (1985) and Solomon (1991), Israel rescued almost 42,000 members of the ancient Ethiopian Jewish community.
To single out Jewish self-determination for condemnation is itself a form of racism. "A world that closed its doors to Jews who sought escape from Hitler's ovens lacks the moral standing to complain about Israel's giving preference to Jews," wrote noted civil rights lawyer Alan Dershowitz.
When approached by a student who attacked Zionism, Martin Luther King responded: "When people criticize Zionists, they mean Jews. You're talking anti-Semitism."
The 1975 UN resolution was part of the Soviet-Arab Cold War anti-Israel campaign. Almost all the former non-Arab supporters of the resolution have apologized and changed their positions. When the General Assembly voted to repeal the resolution in 1991, only some Arab and Muslim states, as well as Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam were opposed.
The release of thousands of US diplomatic cables by the secrets outlet WikiLeaks has unintentionally led to the proliferation of anti-Israel conspiracy theories, according to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).
The ADL said that conspiracy theories linking Israel to WikiLeaks have circulated through online publications, where it has been suggested that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange struck a secret deal with Israeli officials over the leak of diplomatic cables; or that Assange actually works for Israel.
"The WikiLeaks affair has given new life to the old conspiracy theories of underhanded Jewish and Israeli involvement in an event with significant repercussions for the US and many nations around the world," ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman said, according to a published statement.. "The news is being exploited by conspiracy theorists, some world leaders, and various Web sites across the ideological spectrum to spread false and malicious conspiracy theories against Israel."
The narrative about Israel negotiating with Assange probably first surfaced in Al Haqiqa, an Arabic language webzine affiliated with a Syrian opposition group, ADL suggested. The story was picked up by a writer at IndyMedia UK, who, citing Al Haqiqa, said that Israel learned that the documents contained information about about the Israeli attacks on Lebanon and Gaza in 2006 and 2008. These documents were destroyed by Assange at the request of the Israelis, according to the anonymous writer.
However, there's no evidence to support such an extraordinary claim.
A few world leaders have alleged that WikiLeaks is connected with Israel as well.
On December 1, Huseyin Celik, a deputy leader of Turkey's ruling party, hinted that Israel could be responsible for WikiLeaks during a press conference, saying that "Israel is very pleased [with the WikiLeaks controversy]" and "has been making statements for days, even before the release of these documents."
After a leaked diplomatic cable revealed the Palestinian Fatah party had asked Israel to attack Hamas in 2007, the party condemned the release as "fabrications and lies" and claimed it was a conspiracy by the Israel Security Agency.
Conspiracy theories linking Israel to WikiLeaks have been fueled by the release of cables that suggest officials in Arab nations are frightened by Iran's nuclear program. In one such cable, Saudi King Abdullah urged a US ambassador to strike Iran to halt its nuclear program.
Israeli officials said the cables vindicated their aggressive stance towards Iran.
"Maybe there's an indirect benefit that the truth is coming out, that the entire Middle East, including Arab states, are very fearful from the Iranian nuclear threat, and are calling on the West to be much more aggressive toward Iran,'' Israeli Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said in an interview with Israel Radio.
Although Arab countries have been the subject of numerous troublesome leaked cables, Israel has not been entirely excluded.
According to a leaked cable, in August 2007 the head of Israel's intelligence agency urged US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, R. Nicholas Burns, to join with Israel in carrying out a five-part strategy to implement regime change in Iran.
Mossad Director Meir Dagan acknowledged at the meeting that the American analysis of Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program was different from Israel's, but he insisted that the threat from Iran was "obvious" and stated that Israel was willing to take action unilaterally.
Responding to the contents of the diplomatic cable, Scott Horton, the Los Angeles radio host behind Antiwar.com, said that by declaring they'd wage a war against Iran by themselves, the nation of Israel was effectively "blackmailing" the United States into combat operations.
Tuesday, 28 December 2010
A school received hatemail targeting its caretaker after he was wrongly identified as a fascist by opponents of the English Defence League, based on data stolen by an Islamist hacking group.
The headmaster of the comprehensive school in Dorset, which The Register has agreed not to name, summoned the caretaker to his office early last week.
He was shown anonymous emails which accused his wife of being a member of the English Defence League (EDL) and urging that he be sacked. The couple live together with their children inside the school grounds.
The emails cited data recently exposed by an attack on the EDL's website. The hacker posted his haul - lists of hundreds of members and financial supporters of the far-right group - on several sites frequented by anti-fascist activists.
"At first I was very confused and more than a little worried as the tone of one of the emails was threatening," the caretaker told The Register.
"I was sure I wasn't married to a fascist or a football hooligan as the email implied."
He investigated online and quickly found the hacked database, which indeed named his wife as an EDL donor and gave their family address at the school. He then trawled through their bank statements and found that he had inadvertently donated £1 to the group via a PayPal account in his wife's name.
The caretaker then recalled reading an article several months ago about "poppy burning or about the disruption of a military funeral". The page had a button labelled "support the troops", and he donated one pound. It gave no indication the money was destined for the far-right EDL, he claimed, but the caretaker admitted he had been "stupid".
"It would have been to show my support for our armed forces and the fallen, the same thing I do every year when I buy a poppy for one pound," he said.
"I never for one moment thought my money was being sent of to a bunch of football hooligans."
"The school and my employer have been supportive, once I explained, and have even offered to call in the police if they should be needed. However given the nature of my employment with children allegations like this could have cost me my job and my family their home."
Instead, he has spent the past week and a half issuing appeals for anti-fascists to remove his family's address from their posting of the hacked database.
"Some have been very understanding and have done just that or even simply removed my details. Where this hasn't happened or there has been no contact available I have had the list removed," he said.
"My own simple polite requests are mostly listened to. However its all been very time consuming, very disruptive and it's been a huge worry for my wife and I've had no small worry for my family's safety."
A hacker calling himself "TriCk", aka "Saywhat?", has claimed responsibility for raiding the EDL's server. In notes appended to the member and donor lists, he said he acted on behalf of TeaMp0isoN, known for defacing websites with anti-Israel and anti-India propaganda, and on behalf of "Mujahideen Hacking Unit".
"Yes I know I have broken the Data Protection Act and the Computer Misuse Act, I'm a hacker it's what we do, deal with it," he wrote.
The EDL is understood to have reported the hack to police. ®