Posts Tagged ‘Israeli propaganda’

Criminalizing Criticism of Israel

May 10, 2009

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS  | Counterpunch, May 10, 2009

On October 16, 2004, President George W. Bush signed the Israel Lobby’s bill, the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act.  This legislation requires the US Department of State to monitor anti-semitism world wide.

To monitor anti-semitism, it has to be defined.  What is the definition?  Basically, as defined by the Israel Lobby and Abe Foxman, it boils down to any criticism of Israel or Jews.

Rahm Israel Emanuel hasn’t been mopping floors at the White House.
As soon as he gets the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 passed, it will become a crime for any American to tell the truth about Israel’s treatment of Palestinians and theft of their lands.

It will be a crime for Christians to acknowledge the New Testament’s account of Jews demanding the crucifixion of Jesus.

It will be a crime to report the extraordinary influence of the Israel Lobby on the White House and Congress, such as the AIPAC-written resolutions praising Israel for its war crimes against the Palestinians in Gaza that were endorsed by 100 per cent  of the US Senate and 99 per cent  of the House of Representatives, while the rest of the world condemned Israel for its barbarity.

It will be a crime to doubt the Holocaust.

It will become a crime to note the disproportionate representation of Jews in the media, finance, and foreign policy.

In other words, it means the end of free speech, free inquiry, and the First Amendment to the Constitution. Any facts or truths that cast aspersion upon Israel will simply be banned.

Given the hubris of the US government, which leads Washington to apply US law to every country and organization, what will happen to the International Red Cross, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, and the various human rights organizations that have demanded investigations of Israel’s military assault on Gaza’s civilian population?  Will they all be arrested for the hate crime of “excessive” criticism of Israel?

This is a serious question.

A recent UN report, which is yet to be released in its entirety, blames Israel for the deaths and injuries that occurred within the United Nations premises in Gaza.  The Israeli government has responded by charging that the UN report is “tendentious, patently biased,”  which puts the UN report into the State Department’s category of excessive criticism and strong anti-Israel sentiment.

Israel is getting away with its blatant use of the American government to silence its critics despite the fact that the Israeli press and Israeli soldiers have exposed the Israeli atrocities in Gaza and the premeditated murder of women and children urged upon the Israeli invaders by rabbis.  These acts are clearly war crimes.

It was the Israeli press that published the pictures of the Israeli soldiers’ T-shirts that  indicate that the willful murder of women and children is now the culture of the Israeli army.  The T-shirts are horrific expressions of barbarity.  For example, one shows a pregnant Palestinian woman with a crosshairs over her stomach and the slogan, “One shot, two kills.”  These T-shirts are an indication that Israel’s policy toward the Palestinians is one of extermination.

It has been true for years that the most potent criticism of Israel’s mistreatment of the Palestinians comes from the Israeli press and Israeli peace groups.  For example, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz and Jeff Halper of ICAHD have shown a moral conscience that apparently does not exist in the Western democracies where Israel’s crimes are covered up and even praised.

Will the American hate crime bill be applied to Haaretz and Jeff Halper?  Will American commentators who say nothing themselves but simply report what Haaretz and Halper have said be arrested for “spreading hatred of Israel, an anti-semitic act”?

Many Americans have been brainwashed by the propaganda that Palestinians are terrorists who threaten innocent Israel.  These Americans will see the censorship as merely part of the necessary war on terror.  They will accept the demonization of fellow citizens who report unpalatable facts about Israel and agree that such people should be punished for aiding and abetting terrorists.

A massive push is underway to criminalize criticism of Israel.  American university professors have fallen victim to the well organized attempt to eliminate all criticism of Israel.  Norman Finkelstein was denied tenure at a Catholic university because of the power of the Israel Lobby.  Now the Israel Lobby is after University of California  (at Santa Barbara,) professor Wiliam Robinson.  Robinson’s crime:  his course on global affairs included some reading assignments critical of Israel’s invasion of Gaza.

The Israel Lobby apparently succeeded in convincing the Obama Justice (sic) Department that it is anti-semitic to accuse two Jewish AIPAC officials, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, of spying.  The Israel Lobby succeeded in getting their trial delayed for four years, and now Attorney General Eric Holder has dropped charges.  Yet, Larry Franklin, the DOD official accused of giving secret material to Rosen and Weissman, is serving 12 years and 7 months in prison.

The absurdity is extraordinary.  The two Israeli agents are not guilty of receiving secrets, but the American official is guilty of giving secrets to them!  If there is no spy in the story, how was Franklin convicted of giving secrets to a spy?

Criminalizing criticism of Israel destroys any hope of America having an independent foreign policy in the Middle East that serves American rather than Israeli interests.  It eliminates any prospect of Americans escaping from their enculturation with Israeli propaganda.

To keep American minds captive, the Lobby is working to ban as anti-semitic any truth or disagreeable fact that pertains to Israel.  It is permissible to criticize every other country in the world, but it is anti-semitic to criticize Israel, and anti-semitism will soon be a universal hate-crime in the Western world.

Most of Europe has already criminalized doubting the Holocaust.  It is a crime even to confirm that it happened but to conclude that less than 6 million Jews were murdered.

Why is the Holocaust  a subject that is off limits to examination? How could a case buttressed by hard facts possibly be endangered by kooks and anti-semitics?  Surely the case doesn’t need to be protected by thought control.

Imprisoning people for doubts is the antithesis of modernity.

Dr Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He is coauthor of The Tyranny of Good Intentions.He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com

War on Gaza: Israeli Action, Not Reaction

February 5, 2009

Nicola Nasser| PEJ News, Feb 4, 2009

Stubbornly insisting on getting the carriage before the horse as the approach to a “durable and sustainable” ceasefire in Gaza Strip, U.S. and European diplomacy in particular is building on an Israeli misleading premise that the 22 – day military operation, dubbed “Cast Lead,” against the Palestinian Gaza Strip was a reaction and not a premeditated long planned scheme that found in the change of guards in Washington D.C. an excellent timing. It was “not simply a reaction,” but “a calculation,” Daniel Klaidman wrote in Newsweek on January 10.

U.S. and European diplomats are reiterating the Israeli propaganda justification: “What would any normal country do if they were threatened by rocket fire? They would act.” U.S. President Barack Obama was the last western leader to uphold this Israeli claim. “But Israel is not a normal country, it is an occupying country,” former Palestinian – Israeli member of Knesset Azmi Bishara said. Moreover what country would tolerate an eight–year siege and not consider it an act of war without any national reaction? Why should western diplomacy judge Palestinians in Gaza as universally abnormal?

Western diplomacy is building on the Palestinian reaction in self–defense as the igniting cause of violence and on the Israeli aggressive action as the resulting effect. It is a non starter. It could win EU high representative Javier Solana, the international middle East quartet of peace mediators’ envoy Tony Blair, who are regular visitors to the region, and U.S. newly appointed Middle East envoy George Mitchell some audience among their Arab and Palestinian peace partners who might still hope that the United States and the European Union may yet be able to deliver on their two–state promise, but this audience was not and is still not the key player in Gaza. Israeli and Hamas’ non–abiding reaction to the UN Security Council resolution 1860 proved British Foreign Secretary David Miliband right when he said immediately thereafter that “peace is made on the ground while resolutions are written in the United Nations.”

Hamas has survived the Israeli “Operation Cast Lead,” which failed to remove it as a key player, to remain the only player on the ground in Gaza and not only as a key player there as well as a major much stronger player among Palestinians in the West Bank and the Diaspora. To build their diplomacy for a “durable and sustainable” ceasefire on the recognition only of the Israeli player while bypassing or sidelining the other protagonist is a dead end approach that could only encourage more Israeli aggressive actions and would for sure invoke more Palestinian violent reaction.

Unfortunately this has been the focus of UN resolution 1860, the so–called Egyptian initiative, the recent European summit meetings with Arab and Israeli leaders, the Israeli–US memorandum of understanding of January 19, George Mitchell’s Middle East eight–day tour, a focus that President Obama had subscribed to two days after his inauguration. It might not be too long before western diplomacy regrets this approach. Hamas should be “engaged … as there could be no solution to the issue” by keeping it out in the cold, Nathan J Brown, an expert from Carnegie Endowment, was quoted as saying by Indian “The Hindu” on January 25, a view shared also by former US president Jimmy Carter.

In historical perspective, nothing proves the Israeli action and the Palestinian reaction more than the very existence of Hamas. While founding the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) was the reaction of the Palestinian refugees in exile to the Israeli action of forcing them out of their homeland in 1948, the founding of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in Gaza was the Palestinian reaction to the Israeli military expansion in 1967, which led to the occupation of the rest of historic Palestine.

More recently, the Palestinian reaction managed to develop some locally–made primitive rockets in self–defense, and to smuggle in some “Grad” systems, which Israel used in addition to the tunnels under the Gaza–Egypt borders as justification for military action, while imposing a media blackout to hide the horrible humanitarian disaster unfolding in Gaza as the result of its eight year blockade of the territory, which left the besieged Palestinians with one of two choices: Either to starve slowly to death or die instantly en masse in “Operation Cast Lead.” Israel imposed siege, in itself an act of war, as a collective punishment against Gaza civilians. US and European strong advocates of Humanitarian Intervention, led by French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, who call now for such interventions in Darfur, Myanmar and Zimbabwe and who did intervene militarily for humanitarian reasons in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Kosovo, have kept mum on Gaza.

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt hit directly at the root cause of the Gaza conflict. “They will dig tunnels out of desperation and there will be no way of stopping all these tunnels if you don’t open up the border,” he said. Bildt was joined by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown who urged ending, “Gaza’s economic isolation by reopening the crossings that link it to the outside world.” European leaders seem to have finally awakened to the real equation of cause and effect in the conflict. However they are calling for opening Gaza border crossings as a sideshow, as the effect and not as the root cause of Palestinian reaction, as a prerequisite for a “durable and sustainable” ceasefire and not as an obligation that Israel must abide by in its capacity as the occupying power under international law, as merely a humanitarian outlet for the besieged civilian population and not as a national right of the Palestinians in Gaza Strip in the context of the Israeli unilateral military redeployment from the coastal strip in 2005.


Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Bir Zeit of the Israeli –occupied Palestinian Territories.
He can be reached at nicolanasser@yahoo.com

Israel Asserting Middle East Supremacy: From Gaza to Tehran

February 2, 2009

“The Israeli Defense Force is the most moral army in the World!”
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert

By James Petras | Information Clearing House, February 2, 2009

Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany bombed, invaded and annexed countries and territories as a prelude to their quest for World Empire.  Israel’s drive for regional dominance has followed in their footsteps, imitating their style: Indiscriminate aerial bombings of civilian and military facilities, a savage blitzkrieg led by armored vehicles, disdain and repudiation of all criticism from international agencies was accompanied by an open, military buildup for a new and bigger war against Iran.  Like the Nazi leadership, who played on the ‘Bolshevik threat’, the Israeli high command has set in motion a vast world-wide propaganda campaign led by its world Zionist network, raising the specter of ‘Islamic terror’ to justify its preparations for a military assault on seventy-four million Iranians.  Just as Nazi Germany interpreted the passivity, sympathy and impotence of the West when confronted by ‘facts on the ground’ as license for aggression, the Israeli military machine receives a powerful impetus for new wars by the Western governments’ inaction and flaccid response to its invasion of Lebanon, the bombing of Syria and now its Nazi style blitz and conquest of Gaza.  For the Israeli high command, the impotence and complicity of the Western states, marks the way to bigger and bloodier wars to establish Israel’s supremacy and dominance of the Middle East, from the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf.

Gaza Blitz:  Dress Rehearsal for an Assault on Iran

Israel’s military victory in Gaza is a dress rehearsal for a full-scale military assault on Iran.  In the course of their Gaza extermination campaign, Israeli political and military strategists gained a great deal of vital information about: (1) the levels of complicity and impotence of European, North American and Arab states;  (2) the high degree and depth of material and political support obtainable from the United States government in pulverizing adversaries; (3) the high degree of internal support among the Jewish electorate for even the most brutal killing fields; (4) the massive unquestioning backing of an offensive war from all the biggest and most politically influential and wealthiest Jewish-Zionist organizations in the US and Western Europe; (5) the weakness and ineffectiveness of the United Nations and the incapacity of the entire range of humanitarian organizations to limit Israel’s extermination campaign directed at destroying the very existence of an entire people; (6) the unconditional backing of the entire mass media and news agencies in the US and most of the mass media in Europe and the rest of the world; (7) the willingness of the liberal critics to equally blame the victims of extermination and the exterminators for the ‘violence’, thus neutralizing any effective consequential condemnation of the Israeli state; and (8) the adaptation of practically all the journalists, writers, academics and politicians to the entire euphemistic vocabulary of the Israeli propaganda office.

For example, sustained total war is called an ‘incursion’.  Ten thousand aerial assaults by hundreds of Israeli helicopters and fighter-bombers are equated with sporadic harmless homemade rocket attacks as ‘violence’.  Israeli targeting of thousands of civilian homes, hospitals and basic infrastructure are labeled ‘terrorist’ targets.  Resistance fighters are labeled ‘Hamas terrorists’.  The bombing of the Red Cross, the United Nations relief facilities, hospitals, mosques are called ‘mistakes’ or justified as ‘launching sites for Hamas terrorists.

Israeli political leaders have drawn the lesson from their dirty little ‘war’ that they can totally destroy a nation, decimate a society and murder and maim 7000 civilians with impunity.  Israeli leaders learned they can carry out an offensive genocidal war without suffering breaks in diplomatic relations (except Mauritania, Qatar, Bolivia and Venezuela).  The Israelis have successfully tested the loyalty and submissiveness of the major Arab regimes in the region and secured cooperation and acquiescence from Egypt, the ‘Palestinian Authority’, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.  Israeli civilian-military leaders calculate that with this high degree of governmental complicity, combined with support from all the major Zionist leaders and mass media moguls, they can dismiss even large-scale street protests, repeated calls for boycotts and United Nations denunciations.  Israeli leaders know that the criticism of major religious leaders and the growing number of Jewish dissidents, critical intellectuals and activists will have no consequential impact on Western governments nor lessen the fervor and loyalty of the major Jewish organizations.

Continued >>

Avi Shlaim: The newspeak of Israeli propagandists

January 26, 2009

What Uri Dromi says about Hamas is pure and poisonous Israeli propaganda (This Hamas hallucination, 23 January). In every respect his article is almost the exact opposite of the truth. Dromi claims that: “The Orwellian mindset of the organisation is as much a barrier to peace as the rockets it fires.” But it is the newspeak of Israeli propagandists like Dromi that is truly Orwellian.

Over the last four weeks the powerful Israeli propaganda machine has been churning out lie after lie about Hamas in order to excuse its own inexcusable onslaught. Israel stopped journalists going into Gaza, preventing any independent reporting on the war crimes its forces were committing. Truth is usually the first casualty in war. Gaza was not even a war in the conventional sense of the word; it was one-sided carnage.

Here are some of the facts Dromi ignores or wilfully misrepresents. First, Hamas is the democratically elected government of the Palestinian people, not the corrupt regime led by Mahmoud Abbas. Second, Hamas spokesmen have repeatedly declared their readiness for a long-term ceasefire. Khalid Mish’al recently did so on these pages (Comment, 6 January). Third, Hamas has a solid record of observing ceasefires, while Israel has a consistent record of sabotaging them. Fourth, even during the ceasefire Israel did not lift its economic blockade of the 1.5 million inhabitants of Gaza, a form of collective punishment forbidden by international law. Fifth, the offensive unleashed in Gaza was illegal, immoral and unnecessary. If all Israel wanted was to stop rocket attacks from Gaza, all it had to do was to observe the ceasefire brokered by Egypt in June 2008.

Professor Avi Shlaim
Oxford

Q&A: “A Lot of the Gaza Story Is Being Left Out”

January 23, 2009

Miren Gutierrez interviews NANCY SNOW, propaganda expert

Inter Press Service


ROME, Jan 22 (IPS) – The war of words continues in Gaza, in spite of the ceasefire. Nancy Snow, propaganda expert, talks to IPS about information spin strategies and whether we, the public, have learnt any lessons from Iraq.

Snow is a writer and a Huffington Post blogger. Her latest book is “Persuader-in-Chief” about public diplomacy and persuasion in the Age of Obama. She is also Associate Professor at the Newhouse School of Communications, Syracuse University.

IPS: The Israeli propaganda effort is being directed to justify their attack. The sight of Hamas rockets streaking into Israel has been helpful in this respect. But do you think Israel’s effort has achieved anything?

NS: Israel’s effort seems to be designed to shake the confidence of Hamas. Of course, innocent people are in the way of this power struggle. We don’t know yet if Hamas will be emboldened or weakened by the Gaza conflict. We do know that global public opinion is against Israel for its raining of air attacks on a densely populated area. A lot of people died unnecessarily simply because of where they lived.

IPS: On Dec. 28, Israel released a video of a missile attack against what appeared to be a lorry being loaded with rockets. A caption says: “Grad missiles being loaded onto the Hamas vehicle.” As of last week, 632,714 people had watched it. However, it turned out that a Gaza resident named Ahmad Abdallah Muhammad Sanur claimed that the truck was his and that he and his workers were moving oxygen cylinders from his workshop. How do you think this case has hampered Israel’s propagandistic efforts?

NS: If one believes that the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) is acting in self-defence and that Hamas is completely responsible for creating the Gaza conflict, then the resident’s claim that this truck was his and that they were only moving oxygen cylinders places innocent victims smack in the middle of the propaganda war between Hamas and the IDF. If Sanur’s claims are true, naturally it hurts the IDF position that only Hamas is the target of its rockets.

IPS: Has the ban on foreign correspondents “helped”? (The television channels Al-Jazeera and BBC operated there during the attack). The absence of reporters from other major organisations has meant, for example, that Sanur’s story has not been as widely told as it probably would have been, or his account subject to examination.

NS: How do you think the ban is affecting this war of words? I’m all for the complete access of media to conflict areas. If correspondents are willing to put themselves in harm’s way in order to tell the story, completely and truthfully, then they should be allowed in. When a ban takes place, all we can wonder is what is being left out of the story being told? We cannot allow just officials to tell their stories. We need people on the ground, both citizen journalists and foreign correspondents, to complete the landscape picture.

IPS: Only last week, if you typed “Gaza” in the YouTube search engine, you would get 47,200 hits. Some of the titles included “Mortar Bombs Shot from U.N. School in Gaza” (from Oct 29, 2007); “Hamas terrorists kill innocent Palestinian in Gaza”; and “White phosphorus shells on Gaza.” Some of them come from established TV channels like Al-Jazeera, BBC or CBS. Others come from unclear sources. We have seen pictures of the conflict in Lebanon in 2006 and videos of the Jabalya refugee camp from September 2005 passed off as images of the current conflict in Gaza too. An apparently conclusive piece of evidence can turn into something doubtful. How can the reader know that what he or she is seeing is true or an honest rendition of the truth?

NS: I wouldn’t entirely trust Youtube for the whole story. We often say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but if that picture has been doctored of if the caption is inaccurate, then the picture is utterly worthless. I would tell people to utilise a wide spectrum of sources, both print, online, and video, to dig deeper. Compare and contrast media coverage, for instance CNN versus Al-Jazeera. A lot of the story is being left out or told from a biased perspective. We’re all biased; no one is without a slanted perspective, but we can try to overcome our worse biases by constantly questioning the story, its conclusions and the sources used. Always ask yourself, what is being left out on the cutting room floor?

IPS: In an interview with IPS in 2004, you said that, once the masses have chosen sides, “propaganda is used to reinforce existing attitudes more than it is used to change attitudes”. Is that what is happening here?

NS: Yes, this is still the case. Propaganda is generally ill-suited to completely change opinions from one side to another. What it can be more effective at is challenging a prevailing assumption among those who aren’t yet fully committed to one side or another. Also, the best propaganda, like the best persuasion, is that which is subtle and designed to make one believe that the conclusion comes from oneself and not an outside sponsor.

IPS: In the same interview with IPS, you said about the invasion of Iraq that the propaganda surrounding it that it was more “about not seeing images. People in the U.S. didn’t see the same war as people outside the U.S. or as did viewers of Al-Jazeera.” What about Gaza now? Are we seeing the same war?

NS: Absolutely not. Just the other day, my colleague, Mehrzad Boroujerdi, director of Middle East studies here at Syracuse University, commented on how different the media coverage of the Gaza conflict was between CNN and Al-Jazeera English. He said that just five minutes of watching convinced him that the media are setting the agenda and creating different wars through their distinct coverage. CNN was much more pro-Israeli and pro-official sources while Al-Jazeera English gave voice to the people on the ground.

IPS: You also said that with Iraq, the U.S. public “succumbed more to the stupid propaganda tricks than did the rest of the world”. Are they succumbing to Israeli propaganda now? Has the public learnt any lessons from Iraq?

NS: I’m not sure if we learned anything from Iraq. It’s still too soon. We’re in the midst of saying goodbye to a most unpopular war president whose favourability is at an all-time low of 22 percent. I think most of us don’t know whose propaganda is more credible.

*Miren Gutierrez is IPS Editor in Chief.

Israel’s Warped Self-justification For Murder

December 31, 2008

Paul J. Balles exposes Israel’s warped definition of self-defence, which it uses as a cover for its murder of innocent Palestinians, including women and children, and its destruction of universities, mosques and other civilian infrastructure in the occupied Gaza Strip.

By Paul J. Balles | Information Clearing House, Dec 31, 2008

Israel brazenly lies, saying that Hamas broke the cease-fire when it was Israel that broke the cease-fire in November.

In Haaretz, Zvi Barel writes: “Six months ago Israel asked and received a cease-fire from Hamas. It unilaterally violated it when it blew up a tunnel, while still asking Egypt to get the Islamic group to hold its fire.”

Israel continues its propaganda, claiming that its attack on Gaza is in self-defence.

The Huffington Post reports, “A mother whose three school-age children were killed, and are piled one on top of the other in the morgue, screams and then cries, screams again and then is silent.”

Self-defence?

The New York Times reported: “At Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, women wailed as they searched for relatives among bodies that lay strewn on the hospital floor.”

Self-defence?

While the world is busy attempting to assess the damage from the financial crisis, Israel decides that it’s a fitting time to massacre 350 and injure another 1500 in Gaza.

Self-defence?

In its propaganda dissemination, Israelis have been getting instruction on how to paint Israel as angels and Hamas as devils. What makes Hamas Beelzebubs? They have sent 1000 rockets into Israel, killing four Israelis altogether.

Self-defence?

The Israeli navy attacked and rammed a humanitarian boat in international waters off the coast of Gaza, preventing it from delivering desperately needed medical supplies and treatment.

Self-defence?

Eva Bartlett (Canadian), International Solidarity Movement, reported from inside Gaza on 27 December: “Israeli missiles tore through a children’s playground and busy market in Diyar Balah. We saw the aftermath – many were injured and some reportedly killed.”

Self-defence?

Ewa Jasiewicz (Polish and British), Free Gaza Movement, observed: “The morgue at the Shifa Hospital has no more room for dead bodies, so bodies and body parts are strewn all over the hospital.”

Self-defence?

Sharon Lock (Australian), International Solidarity Movement, writing from Gaza: “This massacre is not going to bring security for the State of Israel or allow it to be part of the Middle East. Now calls of revenge are everywhere.”

Self-defence?

Jenny Linnel (British), International Solidarity Movement, reporting from Gaza: “In front of our house we found the bodies of two little girls under a car, completely burnt. They were coming home from school.”

Self-defence?

Nora Barrows-Friedman, Flashpoints Radio, says: “The people [in Gaza] are filled with panic and terror – and this comes after a prolonged siege that deprives them of needed food, medicine, clean water, electricity – the basics of life.”

Self-defence?

Laila El-Haddad, a mother from Gaza, writes: “My father just called to inform me he was OK – after warplanes bombed the Islamic University there, considered to be the Strip’s premier academic institution.” They also bombed a mosque. Why would the Israeli Air Force bomb a place of learning and one of prayer?

Self-defence?

Justin Alexander, writing for the Economist, notes: “”Israel’s past military responses to the rocket threat, although massively disproportionate, have … been largely ineffective. It demolished buildings and levelled large areas of farmland in the northern part of Gaza to reduce the cover available for rocket crews. It fired over 14,000 artillery shells in 2006, killing 59 Palestinian civilians in the process, in what was framed as a preventive tactic to make it more difficult for rocket crews to operate.”

Self-defence?

Haaretz ran an article by Gideon Levy reporting: “Within the span of a few hours on a Saturday [27 December] afternoon, the IDF sowed death and destruction on a scale that the Qassam rockets never approached in all their years, and Operation ‘Cast Lead’ is only in its infancy.”

Self-defence? Not on your life! Or death!

Paul J. Balles is a retired American university professor and freelance writer who has lived in the Middle East for many years. For more information, see http://www.pballes.com.

Are You Ready to Face the Facts About Israel?

July 27, 2008


By Paul Craig Roberts | Information Clearing House, July 25, 2008

“On October 21,1948 the Government of Israel took a decision that was to have a lasting and divisive effect on the rights and status of those Arabs who lived within its borders: the official establishment of military government in the areas where most of the inhabitants were Arabs.”
Martin Gilbert, Israel: A History


I had given up on finding an American with a moral conscience and the courage to go with it and was on the verge of retiring my keyboard when I met the Rev. Thomas L. Are.

Rev. Are is a Presbyterian pastor who used to tell his Atlanta, Georgia, congregation: “I am a Zionist.” Like most Americans, Rev. Are had been seduced by Israeli propaganda and helped to spread the propaganda among his congregation.

Around 1990 Rev. Are had an awakening for which he credits the Christian Canon of St. George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem and author Marc Ellis, co-editor of the book, Beyond Occupation.

Realizing that his ignorance of the situation on the ground had made him complicit in great crimes, Rev. Are wrote a book hoping to save others from his mistake and perhaps in part to make amends, Israeli Peace/Palestinian Justice, published in Canada in 1994.

Rev. Are researched his subject and wrote a brave book. Keep in mind that 1994 was long prior to Walt and Mearsheimer’s recent book, which exposed the power of the Israel Lobby and its ability to control the explanation Americans receive about the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

Rev. Are begins with an account of Israel’s opening attack on the Palestinians, an event which took place before most Americans alive today were born. He quotes the distinguished British historian, Arnold J. Toynbee: “The treatment of the Palestinian Arabs in 1947 (and 1948) was as morally indefensible as the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazis. Though nor comparable in quantity to the crimes of the Nazis, it was comparable in quality.”

Golda Meir, considered by Israelis as a great leader and by others as one of history’s great killers, disputed the facts: “It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist.”

Golda Meir’s apology for Israel’s great crimes is so counter-factual that it blows the mind. Palestinian refugee camps still exist outside Palestine filled with Palestinians and their descendants whose towns, villages, homes and lands were seized by the Israelis in 1948. Rev. Are provides the reader with Na’im Ateek’s description of what happened to him, an 11-year old, when the Jews came to take Beisan on May 12, 1948. Entire Palestinian communities simply disappeared.

In 1949 the United Nations counted 711,000 Palestinian refugees.

In 2005 the United Nations Relief and Works Agency estimated 4.25 million Palestinians and their descendants were refugees from their homeland.

The Israeli policy of evicting non-Jews has continued for six decades. On June 19, 2008, the Laity Committee in the Holy Land reported in Window Into Palestine that the Israeli Ministry of Interior is taking away the residency rights of Jerusalem Christians who have been reclassified as “visitors in their own city.”

Continued . . .


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