Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Egyptian blogger Diaeddin Gad detained for 'crime' of supporting Palestinians released

Pro-Palestinian blogger was released by the Egyptian security forces last Friday (27 March). We reported on the case at the time of his detention seven weeks ago - here
Egyptian police have released a pro-Palestinian student and blogger who had been arrested outside his home early last month, a human rights group said on Saturday.

Diaeddin Gad was released Friday morning after spending almost seven weeks in jail, said Gamal Eid, executive director for the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).

Eid accused police of beating Gad in detention. AFP

Pope to send aid to Gaza

From the Catholic News Service
Pope Benedict XVI has decided the collection taken up at his Holy Thursday evening Mass will be used to help support the Catholic community in the Gaza Strip.
The Pope is an ex-member of the Hitler Youth and recently let a holocaust denier back into the Catholic Church. A revolting man but he has done some good with this move. Hopefully it is not motivated by his none to latent anti-semitism.

Investigation to open into claims Israel murdered Yasser Arafat

From AFP
A foundation devoted to the memory of veteran Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat said on Monday it will open a new investigation into his mysterious death in 2004.

"The committee will include Arab doctors responsible for Arafat's health before he was moved to Paris and a number of political officials," Nasser al-Qidwa, Arafat's nephew who heads the foundation, told reporters.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner who led the struggle for Palestinian statehood for nearly four decades died in a French military hospital on November 11 after being airlifted there from his headquarters in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

At the time of Arafat's death at the age of 75, Palestinian officials alleged he had been poisoned by long-time foe Israel, but an inconclusive Palestinian investigation in 2005 ruled out cancer, AIDS and poisoning.

Israel certainly contributed to Arafat's untimely death after keeping him under siege for two years in his compound. Go to the Yasser Arafat Foundation website

IDF kills resistance fighters, more details on Sudan attack

The Israelis have killed two Palestinian resistance fighter and wounded three others near the border fence in central Gaza, according to chinaview.cn

Time magazine reports that the Israeli air strike on Sudan was not carried out by a lone drone but by 'dozens of Israeli jets and drones'. Apparently the US warned Sudan of the imminent attack.

See Gaza Solidarity's earlier report here

G20 protest video - Put People First march, 7min 35s

Israel shoots farmer and steals more land

Israeli occupation forces on Monday fired at a group of Palestinian farmers who were tending to their farms near the northern Gaza Strip city of Beit Hanun wounding one of them.

Security and medical sources said that Abdullah Al-Za'nin, 19, was moderately wounded in the shooting.

The sources pointed out that the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) soldiers intermittently fire at farmers and citizens who try to reach their lands near the security fence separating the Gaza Strip from Palestine occupied in 1948.

Meanwhile, IOF bulldozers on Sunday started paving the way for the construction of a bypass road for the settlers of the Sahve Shamron settlement near Deir Sharaf village west of Nablus city.

The IOF troops had confiscated 78 dunums of Palestinian citizens' land near the village to construct the 12-meter wide road.

250 settlers live in the settlement, which also accommodates an IOF base.

Thanks to the Palestine Information Center

As Judge refuses injunction on George's Canada visit, follow Gerry Hawke's example!

From George Galloway's campaign team

In Canada, a federal judge has refused an injunction to force the Canadian government to allow George Galloway to speak at a series of meetings.

We're asking everyone to follow the example of Gerry Hawke. He donated $20 to Viva Palestina, which is accused by the Canadian government of supporting terrorism because it sent aid to Gaza, and has turned himself in to the police, challenging them to prosecute him!

Please click this link


to donate to the special fund to fight Kenney's political ban and to support Viva Palestina's political campaigning work to lift the siege of Gaza. If you're sick of illiberal, pro-war policies – help fund opposition to them. Follow Gerry's example of donating and then letting the authorities know what you've done. Gerry also wrote to his local newspaper letting them know - all of which helps not only to show the minister's actions up for what they were, but also to keep Gaza alive in the media.

And please keep the pressure up by emailing the minister responsible for the decision, Jason Kenney:
KenneJ@parl.gc.ca; Kennej7@parl.gc.ca; minister@cic.gc.ca

We've been overwhelmed by the level of support for George, both from friends and from people who disagree with him but think it's outrageous that George Bush was allowed to travel freely in Canada, but George Galloway isn't even allowed to cross the border.

Please support the Viva Palestina campaign financially if you can, and please keep making your voice heard.

With best wishes,

George Galloway's campaign team

Monday, 30 March 2009

Canadian Federal court upholds undemocratic ban on anti-war Galloway

So much for Canadian democracy! What a joke - George Galloway is a 'terrorist' for standing up for oppressed people in Palestine and delivering humanitarian aid. It's this kind of undemocratic and hypocritical behaviour that creates the 'extremism' and 'radicalisation' western governments claim they are trying to stop. Shame on Canada.
The federal court on Monday refused to overturn the Canadian border agency's decision to deny firebrand British lawmaker George Galloway entry for a speaking tour, on security grounds. AFP

Police force residents near G20 Excel centre to carry ID

Police seem to be making up the law as they please. They've now ordered people who live near the conference centre to carry ID or they won't be able to get past the roadblocks, in addition to shutting three nearby rail stations.

Police refuse to apologise for arresting innocent Gaza convoy drivers

Lancashire police have refused to apologise for their politically motivated arrest of nine activists taking two vehicles packed with aid for the people of Gaza as part of the Viva Palestina convoy.

At a packed community meeting last night in Blackburn Chief Superintendent Andy Rhodes, of Lancashire Constabulary claimed they had 'acted in the best interests of the community', according to Lancashire Telegraph reporter Ben Briggs.

The arrests took place on the M65 the day before the convoy was due to depart. Three of the nine were held for a week, only to be released with no charge.

The police released no information about the 'intelligence' they were acting upon, fueling suspicions that the arrests were designed to associate the Palestinian movement with terrorism, thereby undermining the aid efforts.

Fortunately the convoy was a great success despite the police and the BBC refusing to show the DEC humanitarian appeal for Gaza.

Israeli investigation finds civilian killing claims 'not supported by the facts'

Another case of hear no evil, see no evil, as the Israeli investigation into deliberate killing of civilians finds no evidence for the claims. What a surprise.

Israel's military Advocate General has closed a probe into reports that soldiers taking part in Israel's recent offensive in the Gaza Strip intentionally killed civilians, after he found the claims 'were based on hearsay and not supported by specific personal knowledge.'

'It was found that once the claims were checked, they were not supported by the facts as determined by the investigation,' an Israel Defence Force(IDF) statement released Monday afternoon said.

The investigation was launched after soldiers who participated in the Israeli operation told a symposium last month of lax rules of engagement that allowed civilians to be killed. more

G20 'explosives plot' helps police clampdown on protests

The Guardian is reporting the arrest of five people, initially thought to be Greek, but in fact British.

Police say the five are not connected to any terrorist organisation. Assuming this isn't a police fit up it will certainly provide the state with more excuses for clamping down on legitimate and lawful protests.

The Guardian source said: "I think it was more designed to disrupt than injur or kill."

But the Telegraph reports that the police actually only seized imitation firearms, a flare gun and some 'extremist' literature.

It's also emerged that the entire CCTV network in central London may have to be turned off because of a legal ruling, although I suspect the government will find a way around this.

More importantly, all decisions on financial spending commitments are to be deferred to a later meeting. Or to put it another way - this G20 meeting is a total waste of time and money.

International Solidarity Movement benefit in Digbeth

Pirating for Palestine! A benefit gig for International Solidarity Movement will take place next Saturday 4th April 2009 from 9pm at the Wagon and Horses, Adderley Street, Digbeth.

Live funk, ska, dubstep, reggae, jungle, and breaks across two dancefloors, and films about the occupation of Palestine.

Police terror posters at G20 demo try to turn us all into McCarthyite witch hunters

On the way back from the G20 demo on Saturday I came across this poster on the London Underground.

It reads: "A bomb won't go off here because weeks before a shopper reported someone studying the CCTV cameras. Don't rely on others. If you suspect it, report it."

No coincidence that this campaign has started in the week of the G20 jamboree for world leaders. (The government is the biggest spender on advertising in the UK).

The levels of state-directed McCarthyite paranoia the government is trying to create is horrendous. There is another version of this poster urging us to search our neighbour's bins!

What the fuck is going on in this country?

If they want to stop terrorism, stop terrorising the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine (by selling arms to the IDF war criminals)... and stop criminalising Muslims and protesters who dare to criticise UK foreign policy or this mad economic system that seems to benefit no-one except the rich and powerful.

The police should do something useful for a change such as catching rapists which they seem decidedly uninterested in doing as they failed to apprehend two serial rapists in London that they allowed to carry out countless assaults over many years despite a mountain of evidence they refused to piece together. Institutional sexism, as well as racism is rife in the London Metropolitan police. They prefer beating up Muslim men such as Babar Ahmad, fighting extradition to the US.

And above is the other version of the poster suggesting we search our neighbour's bins to stop a dirty bomb attack! Unbelievable. The poster reads: "These chemicals won't be used in a bomb because a neighbour reported the dumped containers."

These posters are going to keep the police busy answering calls to investigate perfectly legitimate reasons for using chemicals or appearing to stare at CCTV cameras.

G20 week Gaza events update

Judge to rule on undemocratic Galloway ban today

A Federal Court judge will rule today on an injunction asking that British MP George Galloway be allowed entry into Canada for a series of anti-war speeches.

Lawyers representing groups trying to bring Galloway to Canada argued Sunday in Federal Court in Toronto that an injunction should be granted allowing Galloway to enter Canada for four days pending a judicial review.

More at the Canadian Press

Read George Galloway in his own words on the ban

Israel's blockade a military failure but humanitarian disaster

Israel claims this morning that 70 tons of weaponry has been smuggled into Gaza since the end of the war. The claims come at a time of rising clamour for the lifting of the siege and Israeli leaders no doubt hope that there claims in some way justify the maintenance of the siege. Alternatively it shows that the siege has not prevented the resistance from accessing weapons to fight back with but has succeeded in starving the poorest Palestinians.

For the increasingly belligerent and racist general population in Israel it shows the slaughter should have continued beyond the 22 days of terror inflicted by the IDF.
Palestinian militants have smuggled nearly 70 tons of explosives and bomb-making materials and other weapons into Gaza since Israel ended an offensive meant to choke off the arms flow, a senior Israeli defense official said Sunday.

The assessment by the chief of Israel's internal security service, Yuval Diskin, reinforced a growing feeling among Israelis that the government ended the war too soon. From AP

Hamas and Hezbollah leaders speak out in London tonight

Solidarity with the struggle for Peace and Justice in the Middle East

Come and hear elected representatives from the resistance in Palestine and Lebanon

Lebanon’s Loyalty to the Resistance Parliamentary Bloc
Vice President of the Palestinian Legislative Council
Stop the War Coalition
Vice President (Europe) Cairo Conference
International Co-Ordinator of the International Union of Parliamentarians For Palestine
English Chair of IUPFP

Time: 7pm
Date: Monday 30th March
Place: Friends Meeting House, Euston Road, London (nearest tube, Euston or Euston Square)
Entrance £2

Sunday, 29 March 2009

French foreigh minister calls Gaza 'open-air prison'

From Press TV

France has warned that the Gaza Strip cannot remain an 'open-air prison' forever, urging Israel to lift the blockade on the territory.

Tel Aviv should 'permanently' open Gaza's border-crossings, said French Foreign Ministry Spokesman Eric Chevallier, IRNA repored. more

Al Qassam Brigades threatens to take more IDF soldiers

The Palestinian resistance in Gaza has made it known that the Al Qassam Brigades will seize more Israeli soldiers if Israel refuses to free Palestinian prisoners.

In a statement yesterday Hamas's Ra'ed al-Attar told reporters that "if Israel does not accept the demands to free 1,450 prisoners for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, al-Qassam would imprison more soldiers."

Shalit was taken prisoner by Hamas militants from the Gaza Strip in 2006. Hamas said it will free the Israeli soldier when Israel releases 1,450 Palestinian prisoners from its custody.

"Hamas movement is not intending to make any concessions concerning its demands to finalise the prisoner-exchange deal, and if this soldier (Shalit) is not enough, we would take more," al-Attar said.

Meanwhile Israel has denied that it has re-opened negotiation on the prisoner exchange.

George Galloway on Canada ban and US tour

By George Galloway - Pic Fred Chartrand

THE CANADIAN immigration minister Jason Kenney gazetted in the Sun on March 20 that I was to be excluded from his country because of my views on Afghanistan. That's the way the right-wing, last-ditch dead-enders of Bushism in Ottawa conduct their business.

Kenney is quite a card. A quick trawl establishes he's a gay-baiter, gung-ho armchair warrior, with an odd habit of exceeding his immigration brief. Three years ago, he attacked the pro-western Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Siniora for being ungrateful to Canada for its support of Israeli bombardment of his country. Most curiously of all, in 2006 he addressed a rally of the so-called People's Mujahideen of Iran, a Waco-style cult, banned in the European Union as a terrorist organization.

On one level, being banned by such a man is like being told to sit up straight by the hunchback of Notre Dame or being lectured on due diligence by Conrad Black. On another, for a Scotsman to be excluded from Canada is like being turned away from the family home.

But what are my views on Afghanistan which the Canadian government does not want its people to hear? I've never been to Afghanistan, nor have I ever met a Taliban, but my first impression into the parliamentary vellum on the subject was more than two decades ago. At the time, the fathers of the Taliban were "freedom fighters," paraded at U.S. Republican and British Tory conferences. Who knows, maybe even the Canadian right extolled these god-fearing opponents of communism. I did not, however.

On the eve of their storming of Kabul, I told Margaret Thatcher that she "had opened the gates to the barbarians" and that "a long, dark night would now descend upon the people of Afghanistan." With the same conviction, I say to the Canadian and other NATO governments today that your policy is equally a profound mistake. From time to time and with increased regularity, it is a crime. Like the bombardment of wedding parties and even funerals or the presiding over a record opium crop, which under our noses finds its way coursing through the veins of young people from Nova Scotia to Newcastle upon Tyne. But it is worse than a crime, as Tallyrand said, it's a blunder.

The Afghans have never succumbed to foreign occupation. Heaven knows the British empire tried, tried and failed again. Not even Alexander the Great succeeded, and whoever else he is, minister Kenney is no Alexander the Great. Young Canadian soldiers are dying in significant numbers on Afghanistan's plains. Their families are entitled to know how many of us believe this adventure to be similarly doomed and that genuine support for troops--British, Canadian and other--means bringing them home and changing course.

To ban a five-times elected British MP from addressing public events or keeping appointments with television and radio programs is a serious matter. Kenney's "spokesman" told the Sun, "Galloway's not coming in...end of story." Alas for him, it's not. Canada remains a free country governed by law, and my friends are even now seeking a judicial review. And there are other ways I can address those Canadians who wish to hear me.

More than half a century ago Paul Robeson, one of the greatest men who ever lived, was forbidden to enter Canada, not by Ottawa but by Washington, which had taken away his passport. But he was still able to transfix a vast crowd of Vancouver's mill hands and miners with a 17-minute telephone concert, culminating in a rendition of the "Ballad of Joe Hill." Technology has moved on since then. And so from coast to coast, minister Kenney notwithstanding, I will be heard--one way or another.

What you can do in the US

George Galloway is on a brief speaking tour of the U.S. Look for meetings and events in the following cities and universities.

March 27

March 28
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.

March 29
Muslim Link newspaper benefit, Washington, D.C.

April 5
San Jose, Calif

April 6
San Diego, Calif.

April 7
Garden Grove, Calif.

From Socialist Worker (US). The article first appeared in the Guardian

Lawyers for George Galloway are in Canadian Federal Court today hoping to overturn the ban. Organisers have prepared a Plan B in the event George is not let in to Canada, despite the fact that he will be touring the US. The first meeting of the tour in Canada is in Toronto on Monday.

Racist IDF T-shirts reveal attitudes and actions - Al Jazeera

Al Jazeera video on the racist Israeli T-shirts

Israeli drones behind air strike on Sudan

The Sunday Times is confirming from western diplomatic sources this morning that Israel did launch an air strike inside Sudan in January on what it claimed was a suspected weapons convoy headed for Gaza via Egypt.

Our report earlier in the week, spoke only of an airstrike, quoting Sudanese rebel forces, but the Sunday Times now reveals that it was in fact an Israeli drone that launched the attack.

The Sunday Times says the 'Iranian' convoy was carrying Fajr3 missiles with a range of at least 40 miles would bring Tel Aviv and Israel's nuclear facilities at Damona. It is likely that the resistance has been trying to get longer range missiles and will persist in attempting to do so - a further sign of the strategic weakness at the heart of Israeli military planning:
Israel used unmanned drones to attack secret Iranian convoys in Sudan that were trying to smuggle rockets into Gaza. The missiles have the range to strike Tel Aviv and Israel’s nuclear reactor at Dimona, defence sources said.

The unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) attacked two convoys, killing at least 50 smugglers and their Iranian escorts. All the lorries carrying the long-range rockets were destroyed. Had the rockets been delivered to Hamas, the militant Islamic group that controls Gaza, they would have dramatically raised the stakes in the conflict, enabling Palestinians to wreak terror on Tel Aviv.

According to western diplomats, Israel attacked the Iranian convoys at the end of January and in the first week of February in the remote Sudan desert, just outside Port Sudan. The convoys had been tracked down by agents from Mossad, Israel’s overseas intelligence agency. more
The aftermath of the bombing - from Al Jazzera

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Palestine poster on display in Hyde Park at People First G20 demonstration

French trade unionists on the G20 march

It is now illegal to take pics of police in the UK - so we took some on the G20 demo today

...if the police think it is "likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism"

Stop the War and Palestine solidarity marchers on the Put People First G20 demonstration

50,000 strong G20 demo still rolling 3hrs after start

Second half of demo arriving 15:00GMT

Converging for the rally at G20 People First demo

Second bigger wave of march coming into Hyde Park

G20 demo marching down Park Lane

G20 demo arriving at Hyde Park

G20 People First marchers raising their voices against capitalism

G20 demo gathering at Embankment Temple

Spoof edition of the FT on the G20 People First march

Belgian Christian Trade UnionFederation joins the G20 protests in London

Leon Kuhn art on the G20 People First demo

Raising banner for Gaza on G20 demo

G20 Put People First demo assembled at Embankment 10:42am GMT

Israeli plan to kill Turkish prime minister Erdogan

Turkish media revealed on Friday that an email was found on the personal computer of one of the members of the secret Ergenekon organization revealing an Israeli Mossad plan to kill Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

According to the charges tabled by the Turkish prosecution against the organization, an Israeli journalist sent an email to a number of the organization's operatives accused in the (thwarted) coup attempt against the Erdogan government, informing them that the Israeli Mosaad was prepared to assassinate Erdogan.

Thanks to the Palestine Information Center

Turkish press sources said that the journalist informed the Ergenekon members that they were supporting Mr. Dugo against the "Islamist terrorist" Erdogan, and that he informed them of the Mossad chief Meir Dagan's coordination with Mr. Dugo in this regard. He also said that a Mossad team was awaiting the green light from Mr. Dugo to carry out the mission.

The Turkish sources added that Mr. Dugo, whose name was mentioned in the email, could be Turkish Labor Party head Dugo Prinitchek, who is suspected of leading the secret organization.

A Turkish paper said last month that Israel was striving hard to topple and oust the government of Erdogan because of its support for the Palestinian cause.

A couple of months ago, Erdogan angrily left the Davos conference after he engaged Israeli president Shimon Peres in heated arguments over Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, in which he was not given the chance to refute Peres' lies .

The Turkish organization was discovered in 2007 after Turkish security agencies found a weapons cache in a suburb of Istanbul that led to the arrest of 86 members of the group who were put on trial for planning to oust the elected Turkish government.

Two retired generals led the organization which, according to the Turkish sources, has close contacts with the Israeli intelligence.

US Jewish Community Center to show Caryl Churchill Gaza play

Ari Roth is not surprised that his decision to stage a reading of "Seven Jewish Children: A Play for Gaza" has infuriated some in the Washington Jewish community.

"People have a right to be offended, and I respect those who have read the play and are offended," said Roth, the artistic director of Theater J at the Washington DC Jewish Community Center where the 10-minute play was performed this week. It also will be staged Saturday night and Sunday afternoon in Washington at the Forum Theater.

Roth himself was upset by the script.

However, he has added two pro-Israel plays to the evening as well as a panel discussion as part of an effort to give a broader context to the play. more

This play is not anti-semitic, it is anti-Israel. Read our reviews/comment below:



Friday, 27 March 2009

Galloway challenges Canada ban on Canadian TV

See below a statement from George Galloway on the attempt by Canadian neo-cons to shutdown debate on the disastrous war in Afghanistan. It has in fact boosted the anti-war movement in that country.

‘A political attack from both sides of the Atlantic'

In an extraordinary move, the Charity Commission in Britain has issued a hostile briefing about the Gaza solidarity campaign inspired by Respect MP George Galloway, just before he arrived in North America for a speaking tour.

The Viva Palestina campaign, which organised a convoy of over 100 vehicles bringing aid to the besieged population of Gaza, has been in contact with the Charity Commission over the last week and sent it a substantial letter today in response to letters only received this morning.

Before receiving that letter, however, some officials at the Commission have issued a statement to the media to say they are launching a “statutory investigation”, even though the Viva Palestina campaign has sought to co-operate with all relevant authorities throughout. As Galloway touched down in the US to begin his speaking tour he made the following statement:

“If anyone needs investigating, it is the Charity Commission itself. There is no good reason why the Commission should jump the gun and issue a statement that it is launching an investigation when, in fact, it was about to receive the information and correspondence it had asked for. But there are plenty of bad reasons for this outrageous behaviour.

“Let the facts speak for themselves. On Friday, Rupert Murdoch's Sun reports that a right wing, pro-war, Bushite in Canada is stamping all over free speech and seeking to ban me from the country. On Saturday, Hazel Blears wrote to the largest Muslim organisation in the country calling for the head of its Deputy Director General Dr Daud Abdullah, because of his support for the Palestinian cause.

“On Monday morning, I set off to the US and Canada for a sell-out speaking tour on the issue of Palestine. While I'm in the air the Charity Commission decides not to wait for a letter it had asked for and which will reach it tomorrow, Royal Mail permitting, but instead launches a public attack on the aid convoy I led.

“This isn't the first time the Charity Commission has intervened in a blatantly political way. It did it over the miners strike a quarter of a century ago and against other solidarity movements. It did it over my campaign against sanctions on Iraq, when it repeatedly went though the books of a political campaign despite the fact it never found anything untoward.

“In truth, I expected this kind of attack. So, I'm sure, did the millions of people whose support for the people of Palestine is an affront to the establishment and its organs. Doubtless supporters of the Iraq war and Israel's aggression against the Palestinians will hope that this will damage solidarity efforts. They are deluded.

“We won't be intimidated. Viva Palestina will continue to campaign. And if the reaction in Canada to these kind of attacks is anything to go by, I anticipate an even greater outpouring of support for our campaign – moral, political, financial and in every other way.”

Resistance hits IDF with anti-tank weapons

From ynetnews
Palestinians fired an antitank missile at an IDF force moving along the border fence south of Karni crossing in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday.

There were no reports of damage or injury, and the force did not respond to the source of the fire.
Good news to see that the resistance still has lots of anti-tank weapons in stock and is ready to use them on the IDF killers probing the border.

IDF pretends it cares about Palestinian lives

From the BBC
An Israeli soldier was removed from the combat area after he shot a Gazan woman in the leg "by mistake" during the recent offensive, military sources say.
Does anyone actually believe this garbage from the IDF? Or is this just a not so clever piece of propaganda by the IDF after all the bad press the poor things have been getting recently.

G20 BBC Global Questions being recorded tonight

Gaza Solidarity's G20 fun kicks off at the BBC Global Questions event tonight. Here are the details of when the broadcast goes out:
Sunday 29th March

Global Questions

In front of an invited global audience, BBC World News is hosting 'Global Questions' at the London Stock Exchange to discuss the G20 summit of global leaders.

A panel of high-profile international figures from the world of finance, industry, politics and civil society will answer questions from the audience on what steps they want the G20 to take, if the joint threats of global banking collapse, rapid deflation, poverty and climate change are to be overcome...
Sunday at 0710, 1510 and 1910 GMT
We 'Ordinary Joes' get to ask some questions of the erstwhile masters of the universe. Panel members will include:

"a Minister from the UK Treasury; a Representative from the US Government; Christophe de Margerie, Head of Total Oil; Victor Chu, Hong Kong Businessman and Investment Banker; Alexander Lebedev, Russian Newspaper Magnate and Oligarch, owner of the Evening Standard (subject to confirmation)"

Audience members are allowed to submit two questions, and here are the two submitted:

1 In the Great Depression tent cities called Hoovervilles sprang up across the US, and have begun to appear again today as people are thrown out of their homes. Does the panel expect to see Brownvilles springing up in the UK?

2 Do the panelists think it is right that trillions of pounds are being spent on propping up the banks when a small fraction of that sum could go to the poorest in the world who would be the most likely to spend it and thereby boost world demand?

I'm assured there will be plenty of time for discussion and I hope to mention Palestine some where along the line as well as hanging bankers from lamp posts - not that I'd ever condone inciting anyone to do such a thing, in case there are any judges reading this.

Prof Chris Knight suspended for speaking out on bankers

An academic at the University of East London, Chris Knight, professor of anthropology, has been suspended from his post for speaking out on bankers and for implying that if the police use violence against demonstrators they will be repaid in kind.

Pretty senseless bravado on his part but it is hardly cause for being suspended from your post. Such are the limits to democracy in Britain in the age of the war on terror.

A good story for the media to wind up their 'violence' agenda to scare people off going to the protests and to provide the police with a ready-made excuse for aggressive and violent policing.

Don't support Knight's suspension but his grasp of strategy and tactics vis a vis the state is very poor.

Israel takes Gaza war to Sudan

The Sudanese government has accused the US of launching an air strike on the country in January. It is claimed that the strike was on a weapons convoy on its way to Egypt en route to resistance fighters in Gaza.

However, the US has denied involvement and implicated the Israelis instead.

According to CBS News national security correspondent David Martin an official at the Pentagon told him, “Israeli aircraft carried out the attack”.

“Israeli intelligence is said to have discovered that weapons were being trucked through Sudan, heading north toward Egypt, whereupon they would cross the Sinai Desert and be smuggled into Hamas-held territory in Gaza”.

The first admission that Sudanese sovereignty had been violated came on Monday when state minister for highways, Mabrouk Mubarak Saleem, said: "A major power bombed small trucks carrying arms – burning all of them. It killed Sudanese, Eritreans, and Ethiopians and injured others."

The Sudan Tribune reports today that the Sudanese military has made its first statement about the incident, that led to the death of 38 Sudanese, Ethiopian and Eritrean citizens, in which it admits to being aware of the attack by a foreign power.

It is thought the Sudanese has been reticent to acknowledge the attack as it is embarrassed by the violation of sovereignty.

The news was first broken by a rebel leader in the east of the country and someone from the same group said today they had spoken to the only survivor from the raid:

“There was an Ethiopian fellow, a mechanic. He was the only one who survived. He said they came in two planes. They passed over them then came back and they shot the cars. He couldn’t tell the nationality of the aircraft ... The aircraft destroyed the vehicles. There were four or five vehicles” he said.

Israel has not confirmed the attack but Olmert said it takes its war against 'terrorist infrastructure near and far'.

Hamas denies the convoy was carrying weapons destined for Gaza.

Whatever the exact truth of what took place, western powers are 'co-operating' with Israel to stop arms getting to the resistance. Hopefully they will fail.

Prisoner swap talks resumed in Egypt

Despite Israel's claims to have shutdown prisoner exchange talks they have in fact been on-going this week, after the realised detaining Hamas MPs and imposing an even harsher regime for Hamas prisoners was not going to have the desired effect of getting Palestinians to bow to their demands.
Ali Baraka, the deputy representative of Hamas in Syria, stated Wednesday that the Egyptian-brokered talks with the Israeli occupation authority about the prisoner swap deal had resumed.

He pointed out that Israel finally came to realize that its pressures on Hamas would not deter it from its demands.more

The Israeli press has been remarkably quiet on these developments, coinciding as they do with the taking of power by the new right-wing government with its extreme right foreign minister.

More villagers kidnapped in round up by Israeli occcupiers

Israeli occupation forces on Thursday rounded up 11 Palestinians from Nablus refugee camps and the Tobas district, locals reported.

Witnesses said that seven young men in Balata and Asker refugee camps east of Nablus were snatched at dawn Thursday after the soldiers ransacked their family homes.

In Akaba, Tobas district, soldiers imposed a curfew on the village and kidnapped four people.

Local sources said the soldiers burst into the village in a pre-dawn raid firing live bullets and flare bombs as they went. Three large explosions were heard.

Residents said soldiers used dogs in to search village homes, showing no respect for Muslim sensibilities.

The soldiers also imposed a curfew on Hares village north of Salfit and broke into many homes.

Eyewitnesses said that the soldiers took 150 boys, 13 to 15 years old, to the village's school and interrogated them after covering their heads with paper bags.

The occupation forces closed the only entrance to the Madma village, south of Nablus, with no declared reason, locals said.

Thanks to the Palestine Information Center

Thursday, 26 March 2009

This cartoon is not anti-semitic, its anti-Israel

Cartoonist Pat Oliphant is coming under attack from the pro-Israel Anti-Defamation League in the US for this cartoon, describing it as hideously anti-semitic. The cartoon is clearly highlighting the appalling irony that the slaughter perpetrated in Gaza was being carried out by a state that claims it was founded as a haven for people that suffered the indisputable and historically unprecedented industrial genocide of the Nazis.

What the cartoon does point to, however, is the way in which the actions of Israel are becoming corrosive on the sympathy rightly due for the six million murdered by the Nazis, an observation senior Jewish Labour MP Gerald Kaufman made in the UK parliament during the war on Gaza.

Which is why increasing numbers of Jewish people are saying, ever more loudly, Israel does not speak in our name.

More at The Raw Story

Alternative G20 Summit to consider Gaza carnage

What is the Alternative London Summit?

[update - one of the academics at the University of East London, Chris Knight, professor of anthropology, has been suspended from his post for speaking out on bankers and for implying that if the police use violence against demonstrators they will be repaid in kind. Pretty senseless bravado on his part but it is hardly cause for being suspended from your post. Such are the limits to democracy in Britain in the age of the war on terror.]

On April 2nd 2009, Barack Obama and the G20 ministers including World Bank and IMF governors will be arriving at a conference centre some 500 yards from the Docklands Campus of the University of East London. Lecturing staff and students at UEL have responded by hosting the ‘G20 Alternative Summit’.

The G20 Alternative Summit will be a popular assembly or ‘teach-in’ in a densely populated, working class area of London. It is being hosted at the national level by Britain’s University and College Lecturers’ Union (UCU). At 4.00 pm on April 1st, our first speaker will be welcomed and introduced by UCU General Secretary, Sally Hunt. In addition to comedians, poets, artists, musicians, scientists and academics, we will be inviting shop stewards and activists engaged in current struggles. We intend to make our summit an assembly of the East London working class and of the labour movement as a whole.

John McDonnell MP will be coming to explain to us the Parliamentary uses of the Mace. BBC Newsnight editor Paul Mason will be telling us about his new book, ‘Meltdown: the End of the Age of Greed’. Economist Jan Toporowski will be explaining why the world financial system has so suddenly collapsed. We are hoping to persuade President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela to come heading a delegation from the developing nations which have been excluded from the top table. We will extend a public debating challenge also to President Barack Obama, the venue for our event being less than a mile distant from the EXCEL centre where he will be in attendance anyway.

In short, this will be an event for everyone who thinks that the bankers and politicians in their pay have been making a mess of things and need to be sacked and replaced.

President Obama has inspired people all over the world with hope for change we can believe in. Can we make capitalism history? YES WE CAN!

Filmmaker, photographer and film studies scholar Haim Bresheeth will be telling us about the Gaza Carnage.

Students at the university recently held a successful occupation for Gaza and won all their demands, including scholarships for Palestinian students and the donation of surplus equipment by the university to educational institutions in Gaza.

UK torture inquiry will be useless in hands of the police

The very same Metropolitan Police that killed Charles De Menezes, and whose officers walked away from the killing free men, is to investigate whether MI5 was complicit in the torture of Binyam Mohamed.

To say we don't have much faith in this investigation getting to the truth, or having any interest in doing so, would be an understatement.
The Metropolitan police commissioner has been asked to investigate whether MI5 agents were complicit in the torture of the former Guantánamo Bay detainee Binyam Mohamed, the attorney general, Lady Scotland, said in a written statement (pdf) today.

In an unprecedented announcement, Scotland said she had given the allegations of possible criminal wrongdoing "very serious consideration" and had consulted the director of public prosecutions. But she stopped short of conceding a full judicial inquiry, which many critics have demanded.more

IAF colonel claims killing medics 'not intentional'

We reproduce below a post by Leon Wells in a reply to Colonel Uri Dromi writing for the Guardian's Comment is Free section on Tuesday under the headline: Don't judge Israel's 'war crimes'.

In the article Dromi (of the Israeli Air Force reserve - he doesn't mention his military rank and neither does the Guardian) pleads for the world not to rush to judgment on Israel; that he finds it 'hard to believe' that IDF soldiers would 'intentionally' target medics; and that he has a sense of deja vu over the war crimes accusations. And so he should becuase of course has done it before - committed war crimes and then whitewashed them away. I take it Dromi filed his copy from Israel as if he left he would no doubt risk arrest for war crimes, if shown to have been involved in the Gaza War.

You sir, are a bared-faced apologist of your country's catalogue of war crimes against the predominant innocent population of Gaza. The world can see exactly what the State of Israel has done -- and quite frankly it is an obscenity that deserves our outright condemnation. Furthermore, you and your colleagues at the Israel Ministry of Truth are getting quite desperate in your attempts at damage limitation when you start throwing in crafty little asides regarding what the British did during the Arab revolt in Palestine in 1936-39.

Let's face it -- the IDF and the IAF went on the rampage in Gaza -- and the evidence is mounting by the day of its contempt for Palestinian life. What your military did in those 22 days is an offence against humanity.

Perhaps you should read and digested the following report issued by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel on how the Gaza incursion violated the IDF's own code of ethics. It also states (from WHO figures) that 16 Palestinian medical personnel were killed by IDF fire and 25 were wounded, and accused the IDF of attacking 34 medical centres.

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel Report on Gaza


And perhaps you should also read and digest this report issued yesterday by Human Rights Watch. The webpage also contains damning video and photographic evidence.

Israel: White Phosphorus Use Evidence of War Crimes

"In Gaza, the Israeli military didn't just use white phosphorus in open areas as a screen for its troops," said Fred Abrahams, senior emergencies researcher at Human Rights Watch and co-author of the report. "It fired white phosphorus repeatedly over densely populated areas, even when its troops weren't in the area and safer smoke shells were available. As a result, civilians needlessly suffered and died."


Audio slideshow: 'Phosphorus shells' hit Gaza UN school


We all have to die sometime, but you and I know just how horrifically people suffer and die when injured by WP – dont we Colonel..?

Phosphorus burns carry a greater risk of mortality than other forms of burns due to the absorption of phosphorus into the body through the burned area, resulting in liver, heart and kidney damage, and in some cases multiple organ failure.[45] These weapons are particularly dangerous to exposed people because white phosphorus continues to burn unless deprived of oxygen or until it is completely consumed.


Gaza doctors struggle to treat deadly burns consistent with white phosphorus

Small burns were causing death. "A patient with 15% burns should not die, but we are seeing cases with 15% burns where they are dying," Abu Shabaan said.

He described one patient, a three-year-old girl, who was sent for a scan because of a head wound: "After about two hours she came back, we opened the wound, and smoke came out from the wound," he said. Surgeons used forceps to pull out a substance from the wound that was "like dense cotton and it started to burn," he said. "The piece continued to burn until it disappeared." The child, who was from Atatra, in Beit Lahiya, in northern Gaza, died.

Yes… Are you comfortable that your military inflicted this kind of horrific suffering and death upon fellow human beings – let alone innocent women and children? Well, are you – Colonel Dromi?

Naturally, many Israelis – more noble and principled than yourself – are calling their government and military to account.

Israeli Human Rights Organizations Call on the Attorney General: Stop whitewashing suspected crimes in Gaza"

Israeli human rights organizations have reiterated demands that Attorney General Menachem Mazuz reconsider his refusal to establish an independent investigative body to examine military proceedings during Operation Cast Lead. Such an investigation is critical following the revelation of soldier testimonies concerning the killing of innocent Palestinians revealed this morning in Haaretz. Many Palestinian accounts have reflected a similar picture to that revealed today, triggering suspicions that today's revelations represent only the tip of the iceberg, and that they are the result of norms of conduct that have taken hold throughout the army.


Norms of conduct that have taken hold throughout the army..? No – not possible surely? This is the most moral army in the world – remember?

Well, Im absolutely f**king speechless. But please – do get this:

The time for denials, lies and excuses is well and truly over.

Israel's whitewash of white phosphorus shelling

Following the release yesterday of Human Rights Watch's findings that showed widespread use by Israel of white phosphorus shells on the civilian population, the IDF tells the world today that it has almost finished its 'investigation'. And surprise, surprise, 'based on the findings at this stage' the use of white phosphorus shells 'was in accordance with international law'.
An IDF spokesman said in a written statement that the use of white phosphorus during the Gaza conflict is being investigated, along with several other aspects of the operation.

"The investigation is close to conclusion, and based on the findings at this stage, it is already possible to conclude that the IDF's use of smoke shells was in accordance with international law," the IDF said. "These shells were used for specific operational needs only and in accord with international humanitarian law. The claim that smoke shells were used indiscriminately, or to threaten the civilian population, is baseless." Washington Post

Sheffield University occupation ends, puts Gaza on agenda

Occupiers left the two occupied buildings on Wednesday. The university Pro Vice Chancellor met with student union societies to consider students' concerns, the first time the university has considered the question of policy on Palestine, despite requests in the past before the occupation.

The direct action has put Gaza on the agenda at Sheffield University but now the ball is in management's court. If its 'consideration' of the demands raised by the occupiers are dismissed out of hand then more, and larger scale, action will be needed. The student union already has pro-Palestinian policy and the galvanising effect of the occupation means means the solidarity movement is now in a far better position to take up calls for action at general meetings of the SU.

George Galloway right to attack Charity Commission over Viva Palestina aid

As we reported Tuesday George Galloway is having to defend his Viva Palestina aid convoy from the attacks of the Charity Commission. What is it with the Charity Commission? Who is authorising this vendetta against George Galloway that date's back over a decade? Whoever they are it shows a peculiar take on the meaning of the word charity. Although it should be said it is consistent with the attitude of the rest of the establishment, given the banning of the Gaza humanitarian appeal by the BBC - charity is great providing it doesn't go to Palestinians. Maybe bankers are more deserving in their minds given the amount of taxpayers' money being showered on that industry.

Galloway was greeted as a hero by Palestinians in Gaza for breaking the siege, albeit temporarily, and delivering £1 million in aid. Certainly there were hiccups along the way in terms of the balancing act that was played out between the regimes of north Africa and their impulse to control the convoy for their own ends, but the enthusiastic it received everywhere could not be hidden.

Or perhaps it could be because if you look at the 'fair-minded and balanced' British media you will be hard pushed to find a single straight story about the convoy, especially among the braodcast media. The first time many Brits would have heard of the convoy's existence was when activists taking two vehicles to Gaza were arrested on the way down the motorway from Lancashire to join the rest of the convoy departing the following day. Of course all of those detained were released, with six people being held for a week without charge.

Since then the media was on the look out for any opportunity they could find to have a pop. Next up was the Guardian which rightly picked up, as we did, on the way in which the Mubarak regime was coralling the convoy and how disheartening this was for the opposition in the country that has had its own Gaza solidarity efforts banned and activists imprisoned and tortured. But why did the Guardian choose to go big with this story and say absolutely nothing about the historic re-opening of the border between Algeria and Morocco for the first time in 15 years?

The next time we heard from the British media was when the Egyptian authorities tried to force the convoy to cross into Gaza via an Israeli-controlled crossing instead of at Rafah. The Egyptian police confined the convoy to compounds and then attacked drivers who remonstrated with them. Two people were injured. The police later encouraged local children to throw stones at the vehicles and deface some with graffiti. Did the media report on the activities of Mubarak's police state functionaries as another episode in the story of the trials and tribulations the convoy had gone through? No, Sky News and others led with kids that had thrown stones at the convoy, saying nothing of the police attack, and implying that the people of the Sinai peninsular did not support the Palestinians or the aid convoy.

When several British citizens 'disappeared' in Tunisia after becoming 'detached' from the convoy (they had been detained by the police) Gaza Solidarity new more about the incident than the foreign office that eventually managed to tell us that they were providing consular services. And of course the British media totally ignored the story .

Finally, after being unable to stop the convoy arriving triumphantly in Gaza, the witch hunters fall back on their old friend - The Charity Commission.

But the investigation that is really required is into who ordered the arrests and detention of the M65 drivers and how much time and resources has been wasted by the Charity Commission on George Galloway and the charities he's been involved with over the years? Will we get one? Unlikely, there's a war on terror to be fought don't you know - or should that be 'War on Terror 2.0' given the UK government announced yesterday a revised war-fighting strategy for its campaign of intimidation, character assassination and wide-ranging repression.

Viva Palestina!

Four fishermen kidnapped by Israeli navy

Israeli occupation forces on Wednesday kidnapped four Palestinian fishermen from one family off the coast of Rafah in south Gaza Strip, security sources reported.

They told a PIC reporter that the Israeli gunboats intercepted a Palestinian fishing boat and searched it before taking into custody all four fishermen on board from the Al-Najjar family.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank a Palestinian youth was seriously injured when occupation soldiers opened fire at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus.

The soldiers claimed the young man was running towards them with an iron bar and refused their orders to stop.

Press reports said that 13 Palestinians were rounded up in various West Bank areas on Wednesday at the hands of the Israeli Occupation Forces.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Lowkey's 'Tears To Laughter' launch party

Download the track on iTunes or on Juno

Political pro-Palestinian hip-hop MC Lowkey is launching his single 'Tears To Laughter' at the Vibe Bar, Brick Lane.

The night will feature live performances from Lowkey, Peoples Army, Faith SFX, Shadia Mansour & Reveal plus DJ's The Last Skeptik & Steaz.

Plus the exclusive premier of the Tears To Laughter (Long Live Palestine) Video.

Tickets are only £5 and all proceeds go to the Stop the War Coalition.

This event is expected to be a sell out so get there early!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009
8:00pm - 11:00pm
Vibe Bar
91 Brick Lane, E1 6QL

Phone: 02068012768

Human Rights Watch slams Israel's white phosphorus crimes

US-based Human Rights Watch is calling for the US to investigate the IDF's use of white phosphorus shells, all of which are supplied by the US. The group says Israel's widespread use of the shells in built-up areas was in 'violation of the laws of war'.

From Haaretz
The Israeli army unlawfully fired white phosphorus shells over densely populated areas of the Gaza Strip during its recent military offensive, needlessly killing and injuring civilians, U.S.-based rights group Human Rights Watch said Wednesday.

Citing Israel's use of white phosphorus as evidence of war crimes, the group said the army knew the munitions threatened the civilian population but "deliberately or recklessly" continued to use them until the final days of the Dec. 27 - Jan. 18 operation "in violation of the laws of war."

It called on senior Israeli military commanders to be held to account, and urged the United States, which supplied the shells, to conduct its own investigation.

Israel expansion plan behind election deal

Netanyahu and Lieberman in secret deal to cut off East Jerusalem from Ramallah, according to Israel Army Radio:
Construction in the area is particularly sensitive because it would create contiguity between the settlement and the capital, which in turn would prevent Palestinian construction between East Jerusalem and Ramallah.

This would also make it difficult to reach agreement between Israel and the Palestinians on the question of permanent borders.
From Haaretz

Israel claims Iran can make nuclear weapons

Haaretz reports today that Israel is working on the assumption that the only thing holding back the Iran from achieving military nuclear capacity is the making of the political decision to proceed. Presumably this is what they told the Americans last week when the chiefs of staff of he two countries' armed forces met in Washington. The US chief of staff said in early March he thought Iran had enough fissile material to make a bomb, but it would not be with 'weapon-grade' uranium.
Military Intelligence head Amos Yadlin warned on Wednesday that Iran had "crossed the technological threshold" for making a nuclear weapon.

He also said that the Islamic Republic had finished developing surface-to-surface missiles that can carry nuclear warheads.

Maj. Gen. Yadlin made the comments during a briefing to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

Yadlin said achieving a military nuclear capacity "was mainly dependent on a political decision by Iran.

The crimes behind those sick Israeli T-shirts

Lawrence of Cyberia goes through those hideous Israeli army T-shirts and matches them to the war crime behind them:

Lawrence of Cyberia: “The Smaller They Are - The Harder It Is!” [3]: It’s Not Just A Slogan On A T-Shirt

Lawrence of Cyberia: “The Smaller They Are - The Harder It Is!” [4]: It’s Not Just A Slogan On A T-Shirt

Lawrence of Cyberia: “If You Believe It Can Be Fixed, Then Believe It Can Be Destroyed!”: It’s Not Just A Slogan On A T-Shirt

Lawrence of Cyberia: “You’ve Got To Run Fast, Run Fast, Run Fast, Before It’s All Over!”: It’s Not Just A Slogan On A T-Shirt

Lawrence of Cyberia: “One Shot - Two Kills”: It’s Not Just A Slogan On A T-Shirt

Lawrence of Cyberia: “Better Use Durex”: It’s Not Just A Slogan On A T-Shirt

Lawrence of Cyberia: “We Won’t Chill Till We Confirm The Kill” [2]: It’s Not Just A Slogan On A T-Shirt

Sheffield Uni management call police to occupation

Last night the police were called to the occupation but left again soon after when they found that no crime was being, or had been, committed. Seems like the uni management is in no mood to negotiate and didn't take kindly to the occupation of their pride and joy - the Jessops West Exhibition Centre, which the occupiers have been quick to point out has no teaching rooms or wider academic function.

Students at Sheffield University are rallying for Gaza this afternoon at 3pm.

Negotitations with the university are still stalled and the student union leadership seems to be sitting on the fence.

The rally starts at the Union concourse at 3pm and students and suppoerters will march to the occupied Jessops Centre to hear speakers.

Israel breaks international conventions and worsens women prisoners' conditions

The Ahrar center for prisoner rights said that a letter it received from representative of Hamas-affiliated women prisoners Ahlam Al-Tamimi, serving 16 life sentences since 2001, asserted that the prison administration has decided to deprive them of family visits, reduce the visits of their lawyer to one visit a month and bar them from watching Al-Jazeera satellite channel, in addition to other punitive steps that would be implemented in the coming days.

The move follows a statement from a special cabinet committee indicating that Israel intended to worsen the regime for Hamas prisoners in response to breakdown of prisoner exchange talks. The Israeli move is against international law.

Lewisham, Skokie, Um al-Fahm and the fight against Israel's racists

Following the racist march through the Arab town of Umm al-Fahm yesterday we reproduce this article by Khalid Amayreh pointing to the similarities between an intimidatory march through Skokie in the US by avowed Nazis in 1977 and the march by the National Union party in Israel. And 1977 is the same year that witnessed great anti-Nazis victory which saw the police lines broken and the Nazis National Front driven back into their sewers.

To further emphasise Khalid's point about the support the racist marchers receive from across the political spectrum, as well as officially from the state in the way of police protection, the Labour Party in Israel has joined the Netanyahu government, including as it does Israel's largest racist party, Yisrael Beiteinu. Thanks to the Palestine Information Center.

Note to readers:

To my dear readers: Greeting to each and every one of you:
I am re-posting this article, which I wrote seven months ago, on the occasion of the provocative Judeo-Nazi march by Jewish extremists at the Arab town of Um el Fahm across the green line in what is known as Israel.

The march, which took place today (24 March, 2009) was protected by as many as 2500 Israeli soldiers and paramilitary policemen. As expected, the people of Um el Fahm rose up to defend their city against the Jewish disciples of Hitler who wanted to communicate the same message the “Hitler Youth” and other Nazi groups communicated to Jews at Kristallnacht, long before Auschwitz, Treblinka, and Bergen Belsen.

The marchers, mostly Jewish settlers from the West Bank, said they only wanted to exercise their freedom of speech. This is the same argument that members of the American Nazi party made in justifying their march through the small Jewish town of Skoke near Chicago in 1977.

I was studying in the United States in 1977 and I remember I took part in a protest against the Nazi provocation.

Now, it seems, the Israeli state, and security forces, as well as the vast bulk of Israeli Jews, are saying nothing and doing nothing as they watch these despicable thugs shout “death to the Arabs” and “Arabs to the Gas chambers.”

Interestingly, the march at Um el Fahm, comes only three months after the genocidal Israeli blitzkrieg against the people of the Gaza Strip which destroyed the bulk of the coastal enclave’s civilian infrastructure and killed and maimed more than 6000 people, the vast majority of them children and innocent civilians. It also coincides with the pornographic confessions being made by Israeli soldiers that they were ordered by their superiors to murder civilians in cold blood.

This is Israel of 2008-2009. It is very much like Germany in 1938-39.

Exposing Israel

When members of the National Socialist Party of America (the Nazi Party) declared their intention to march through the predominantly-Jewish Chicago suburb of Skokie in 1977, Jewish groups vociferously denounced the “attempted re-enactment of the Nazi nightmare.”

And while the American Nazis claimed the right to free speech in accordance with the First Amendment, the Jews and their supporters' claim that their right to live without intimidation and harassment overrides the Nazis’ right to freedom of speech and expression.

Eventually, after exhaustive legal actions by both sides, the Nazis were allowed to parade in Skokie.

Ironically, the American Nazi group never did march in Skokie as its leader, Frank Collin, himself the son of a Jewish Holocaust survivor, decided at the last moment that the court verdict was a big victory for freedom of speech and that this was good enough for the group.

The reason I am invoking this story, which took place 35 years ago, is because the government of Israel is finding itself today in the shoes of the American Nazi group, while the Arabs of Israel are forced to play the role of the people of Skokie.

Last week, the Israeli High Court decided to allow the followers of the infamous racist Rabbi Meir Kahana, to march through the Arab town of Um-el-Fahm in northern Israel.

The Kahana disciples argued through their lawyer that they were only exercising their freedom of speech and expression.

The truth, however, is that freedom of speech and expression is the last thing these people would value, especially when their political opponents, Arab or Jewish, are involved.

Indeed, these Judeo-Nazi thugs openly teach that basic human rights, including the right to life, don’t apply to non-Jews in general and Arabs in particular.

Kahana himself back in the mid 1970s wrote a book entitled “They Must Go” in which he urged the Israeli state to ethnically cleanse all non-Jews from Israel-Palestine.

To be sure, the racists will not be marching in Um-el-Fahm in order to assert their right to freedom of expression. It would be more than naïve to think that this is their real purpose.

The main goal behind their planned provocative parade is to assert their genocidal ideology and shout “Mawet le Arabim” (death to the Arabs) and “Arabs out of Israel.”

This is very much similar to the anti-Jewish behavior by the Nazi youth groups in Germany throughout the 1930s. We all know the rest of the story.

The Kahana group may look small in terms of sheer numbers and political representation. However, it is very clear that the group enjoys a lot of backing by powerful political parties such as the Likud, National Union, MIFDAL, Shas as well as the powerful Jewish settler lobby. Moreover, there is conspicuous flaccidity displayed by the Israeli occupation army toward this terrorist group.

Furthermore, it is also well known that the group, which had produced Baruch Goldstein, the American-Jewish physician who in 1994 murdered 29 Muslim worshipers while praying at the Ibrahimi Mosque in downtown Hebron, is backed by powerful rabbinic circles, especially from the Merkaz Harav Talmudic college in West Jerusalem which teaches the doctrine that non-Jews living under Halacha or the Jewish law must be enslaved as water carriers or wood-hewers, or expelled or exterminated.

The Israeli court decision to allow these racist thugs to march through Um-el-Fahm coincided with the screening in Israel last week of a blatantly anti-Islam film produced by a notorious Dutch Islamophobe who had called for banning Islam from the Netherlands.

On Wednesday, 3 September, the Nazi-minded Israeli parliamentarian Aryeh Eldad, who sponsored the screening of the hateful film, said he would seek to form an international parliamentary front with European colleagues against Muslims and Arabs.

This is the same Jewish lawmaker who a few years ago referred to Jews as “human beings” and to non-Jews as “non-human beings.” According to the Israeli press, when the Israeli army and border police forcibly vacated Jewish settlers from the small settler outpost of Ammona in the West Bank a few years ago, Eldad castigated the police for treating “human beings” (the settlers) the way Arabs were being treated.

I am not really presenting these facts in order to incite hatred against Jews or Judaism. I know true Judaism is not like this. I also know that probably most Jews are reasonable people who reject racism.

After all, Jews had been premier victims of the most virulent form of racism, and it is only logical that they should adopt an uncompromising stand against it.

However, it is also important to expose these hypocritical and morally duplicitous Jews who would react vociferously to racism when the victims are Jews but remain silent, or even be enthusiastically supportive, when the perpetrators happen to be Jews or Israelis.

A few years ago, when a Russian court decided to ban Shulhan Aruch, a summarized Talmudic text, Jews around the world cried out against the ugly face of Russian anti-Semitism. Eventually, the Russian court reconsidered its verdict.

However, today in Israel, we see that the entire Israeli state, including the government, the intelligentsia, the media as well as the religious establishment, is totally silent as Islam, the religion of nearly one fourth of Israel’s citizens, is openly vilified by a member of the Israeli parliament, in cooperation with a later-day European disciple of Adolph Hitler.

Moreover, one is really prompted to ask where are the voices that are being raised in Israel and among Jews worldwide against allowing the thugs of Kahana to march through Um-el-Fahm? Have you all forgotten Skokie?

We know and you know that this is not an issue of freedom of speech. This is an issue of a manifestly fascist group inciting against and trying to de-legitimize the very existence of 1.5 million Israeli citizens and another 3.5 million Palestinians living under a nefarious military occupation across the Green Line.

In short, Jews, like the rest of humanity, are expected to be morally consistent.
This means they must speak up against racism, not only when Jews are victims, but also when Jews happen to be perpetrators as well.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Israel's National Union party launches racist provocation in Arab town

Palestinians that live in Israel have been smashed off the streets by police as they tried to prevent a bunch of Israeli racists marching through their town. These sort of marches remind me of when the racist, anti-semitic and fascist National Front would attempt to stage provocative marches in the multicultural areas of UK cities in the 1970s.

The police poured huge resources into protecting the NF but we eventually smashed them off the streets through force of numbers, notably in Lewisham, south-east London.

The National Union rally also sounds similar to the sectarian Orange Order marches through Catholic areas of the north of Ireland which were designed as a statement of superiority and supremacy by the Protestants over the Catholics.

Unfortunately in this case in northern Israel it was the police that succeeded, and the racist ant-Arab rally to 'assert sovereignty' went ahead. Mind you in the UK at the time we didn't have to put up with shock grenades and tear gas, although the police still managed to kill one of our number, Blair Peach.

And please, enough already with the 'there's no racism in Israel' line our pro-Israel commenters are fond of spouting.
Violent clashes broke out between the Israeli police and Arab residents of Umm Al-Fahm on Tuesday morning as right-wing Israelis staged a rally in the northern Israeli Arab town.

The police declared the gathering of residents and left-wing activists at the entrance to the town as illegal and demanded that dozens of demonstrators leave the area.

Police responded to stones hurled at them with shock grenades and tear gas.

At the same time, Israeli right-wing activists arrived at the outskirts of the city, accompanied by two bulletproof buses, and marched along a 800-meter stretch with Israeli flags.

More than 2,500 police, volunteers and border police were deployed in the town ahead of the rally in order to prevent violent confrontations between the locals and the protesters.

One hundred right-wingers took part in the rally, which was approved by the Israeli police, and lasted for about 30 minutes.

The procession was led by Itamar Bin-Gvir and Baruch Marzel, two firebrand right-wing activists, and Michael Ben Ari, a newly elected member of Knesset (the Israeli parliament) from the hawkish National Union party.

Below: The People of Arab town of Umm al-Fahm, northern Israel, speak out