Tuesday, 5 May 2009

AIPAC warmongers' growing nervousness about Obama

AIPAC crowd fret that Obama is not on board for a nuclear winter in Iran, as Shimon Peres winds up the conference attendees. If only we could be so sure. But, hey, lets not disturb the paranoia of the Obama-hate fest otherwise known as the AIPAC policy conference 2009. As we have said before, the pro-Israel lobby needs to be very careful not to bite the hand that feeds it:
There is, unfortunately, a growing sense of nervousness at the conference, however, that the Obama administration is not on board with the strategic plan of pro-Israel activism.

Newt Gingrich’s plenary speech, to thunderous and standing ovations, properly cataloged the ideological hatred growing against the Jewish state in foreign capitals and at U.S. campuses, and at the UN, and amongst the far left blogosphere.

Decent citizens everywhere understand the rise of radical Islam, Jihad, shariah law infiltration into the west, and vicious propaganda that inspires a future generation of Islamic terrorism.

Activists are working on sanctions efforts to turn Iran around from their path toward becoming a nuclear power, an umbrella under which at minimum they would threaten both Israel and Sunni Arab states as well as Europe.

The Iranian issue is the key: Iran funds and trains Hezbollah and assists Hamas and works with Syria to ring Israel with arsenals.

And where is the Obama administration? Weak on public support for Israel, bowing to Saudi kings, opposed to missile defense systems to protect Israel, hostile to Israeli arguments against huge American taxpayer funding of the Palestinian terror society, and bullying against Israeli suggestions that Iran must be isolated, sanctioned, and potentially preempted before they launch a regional nuclear arms race if not a nuclear-warhead- tipped shehab missile to destroy Israel.

Mr. Obama also played a dangerous game by attending the planning session of the Durban II conference (the hate Israel festival). This confused our allies who had long previously decided to boycott the entire process. more

AIPAC conference disrupted by Code Pink Gaza protester

The American Israeli Political Action Committee (AIPAC) policy conference finishes today but followers of this blog will be heartened to see that a codepink protester managed to get into the conference to raise the banner for Palestine. This year's policy conference was apparently attended by half the members of the US congress. The main focus of the gathering was Iran and lobbying Congress to nuke its alleged nuke programme. I think they missed the irony here. Israel, whose leaders are likely to face war crimes trials if they set foot in an increasing number of states, is the region's only nuclear-armed state.

It's here: The 2009 AIPAC Policy Conference.
May 3-5, Washington DC

Shimon Peres was giving speech at the AIPAC conference when he was interrupted by Desiree Fairooz of Code Pink.

This is the biggest of AIPAC events each year, with the largest number of Congresspeople attending. As AIPAC press releases indicate, no event attracts more congresspeople other than mandated attendance at the State of the Union or other official meetings.

More at stopaipac.org

Lieberman wants war with Iran in three months

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's extreme-right foreign minister, has told the Italy's Berlusconi that the west should give Iran three months to respond to diplomatic overtures... or it's war:
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Tuesday told Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi that the West should give Iran three months to respond to diplomatic overtures regarding its contentious nuclear program.

If within three months Iran has still not responded, Lieberman said, "action must be taken."

The foreign minister also asked Berlusconi to implore Russia on his visit there next month to cut off ties with the militant Hamas and Hezbollah organizations, which have close ties to Iran. more

Sick Palestinians forced to inform before receiving treatment

In addition to forcing Palestinian prisoners to provide information before being treated, Israel is also in the habit of forcing Palestinian patients needing to cross into Israel for medical treatment to provide information to Israel's security services before being allowed in. Israel is fond of trumpeting its supposed humanitarian credentials by allowing Palestinians it has injured to travel to Israel for treatment. The Palestinians of course wouldn't need the treatment if they weren't being bombed and besieged by Israel in the first place:
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel said at least 438 patients had been summoned for interrogation by the Shabak, the Israeli general security service, at the Erez crossing out of Gaza between January 2008 and March this year.

It took evidence from several patients and found they were "forced to provide information as a precondition to exit Gaza for medical care". The group said the ratio of applicants being interrogated rose from 1.45% in January last year to 17% in January this year. Their research also suggested the number of interrogations increased sharply from the beginning of this year, after Israel's three-week war in Gaza.

Israel's war criminals complain of UN bias over Gaza atrocities

Israel's war criminals are complaining again. They reject the findings of a UN report that Israel deliberately targeted UN personnel and buildings.

But what is more disturbing is the fact that the UN Sec Gen Ban Ki-Moon is at pains to point out that the report on the attacks on UN facilities in Gaza is not legally binding, following the intervention of the Israeli foreign ministry. The report has not yet been made public.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday said a damning UN report on Israel's conduct in its recent offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip was not legally binding.

The Yedioth Ahronoth daily reported Tuesday morning that the probe accuses the Israel Defense Forces of deliberately firing at UN institutions as well as using disproportional force and causing unnecessary harm to civilians.

Israel later rejected the report Tuesday as being "tendentious" and "patently biased."

Ban made the comments in a letter he agreed to attach to the report at the request of Foreign Ministry director-general Yossi Gal, who traveled to New York on Monday for meetings with Ban's aides on the matter. more

Police attack Brighton anti-war demo calling for release of EDO decommission detainees

Campaigners attempting to decommission the operations of arms manufacturer and supplier to Israel, EDO MBM Technology, are in prison awaiting trial and need your support - report here.

An anti-war demo took place in Brighton as part of the five-year campaign to shut down the factory. Report below on May Day May Day demo from Smash EDO
The Mayday Mayday Street party against war and greed was a huge success. Up to 2000 people took to the streets to protest against EDO MBM/ITT's complicity in civilian deaths and the collusion of local branches of multinational corporations including RBS, HSBC, Lloyds, Barclays and McDonalds in investing in ITT corporation.

As the street party progressed through the city activists scaled scaffolding saurrounding Barclays Bank displying a banner stating 'No Arms Dealers in Our Communities'. Barclays is the largest single investor in ITT. Brighton Army Recruitment Centre was daubed with red paint and protesters confronted police protecting McDonalds. This is the largest show of force yet against EDO MBM/ITT. Smash EDO will not stop campaigning until the factory closes.

and quoted in the Guardian: Chloe Marsh, a spokeswoman for Smash EDO, described the event as "a huge success", but accused the police of heavy-handed tactics. "Although the street party was mostly peaceful, there were at least 30 injuries, with many people being struck in the legs by baton-wielding police, some of whom concealed their numbers behind their shields," she said.
Pics from the day at London Indymedia

Those currently remanded are Robert Alford and Elija Smith.

Please write to them:

Robert Alford VP 7552 HMP Lewes , 1 Brighton Rd, Lewes, Sussex, BN7 1EA

Elija Smith VP 7551 HMP Bristol, 19 Cambridge Rd, Horfield, BS7 8PS

Show your support and sign the petition


Israel cornered by resistance rockets

In an article entited 'The racist Israeli fascist in me' Bradley Burston expresses well the fact that, from a strategic point of view, Israel is cornered... and Hamas knows it. The weakening of support among American Jews for the Israeli state is of deep concern to Israelis, hence the peculiarly honest article that asserts the right to be racist and fascistic on the basis of rockets harmlessly landing in the Negev desert. The Palestinians of course have no right to defend themselves against the might of the Israeli army, air force and navy:

The best way to destroy Israel

But now, Hamas is beginning to see something else. At this point, the best way to destroy Israel, is to leave it exactly as it is.

Titrate, adjust the flow of rockets fired at Israeli civilians to a level which is thoroughly acceptable to the rest of the world, but which is also entirely unbearable to Israelis.

Then, sit back and watch demographics and despair work their magic. No wonder Hamas officials who are seen as moderates urge a 50-year truce. By that time, Israeli Arabs will be able to simply vote the Jewish state off the map.

The article by Bradley Burston is a convoluted rebuttal of an article written by Anne Roiphe, a novelist and journalist living in New York, following the recent Israeli elections that saw Avigdor Lieberman's far right party turned into the kingmakers of Israeli politics and the 'left' virtually wiped out.
We here in America are waiting as of this writing for a government to emerge in Jerusalem and most of us keep on hoping that its shape will not preclude the peace process, will not doom a two-state solution, will not destroy the hope that our new President brings to the table. As American Jews without a vote in Israel, we can't do more than point out what many Israelis understand: Solve this problem or the Jewish state will disappear in a tsunami of Palestinian births; or it will become a theocracy, a thugocracy, an apartheid, anti-democratic state that will then disappear in a wave of world anger.

But Israel has naturally spotted the birth rate conundrum and is taking preemptive action. Today it made known its intention of withdrawing the passports of four Palestinians living in Israel ('Arab Israelis'). If Palestinians can't be ethnically cleansed from the state then turn them into non-citizens.
Hamas leader in Syria, Khaled Meshal, quoted today in the New York Times, says Hamas rocket fire has been halted for now and that he supports a Palestinian state within 1967 borders - not sure what people in Gaza and the West Bank think about that but suffice to say two states is totally impractical because of Israel's 'facts in the ground':
DAMASCUS, Syria — The leader of the militant Palestinian group Hamas said Monday that its fighters had stopped firing rockets at Israel for now. He also reached out in a limited way to the Obama administration and others in the West, saying the movement was seeking a state only in the areas Israel won in 1967.

“I promise the American administration and the international community that we will be part of the solution, period,” the leader, Khaled Meshal, said during a five-hour interview with The New York Times spread over two days in his home office here in the Syrian capital. more

Israeli spy ring broken in southern Lebanon

Over the past 24 days the Lebanese government has arrested eight suspected Israeli spies in southern Lebanon.
Al-Akhbar newspaper reports three people suspected of working for Israeli intelligence services detained in south Lebanon; high-tech equipment found in suspect's home, report says; wave of arrests expected to continue as elections draw near. more
The breaking of the spy ring is likely to lead to more arrests. Israel has not responded directly to the arrest of its agents but it has indicated that it now intends to withdraw its forces from the illegally occupied border village of Ghajar, according to Lebanon's leading english language newspaper the Daily Star
Israeli security claims that Syria is shipping sophisticated defensive weaponry to Hezbollah. Let's hope this is true and not Israeli disinformation.
Israeli analysts believe that Syria is continuing to develop a military strategy strongly influenced by its analysis of the results of the Second Lebanon War. As such, the fundamental principle of the Syrian strategy is the acquisition of sophisticated defensive weapons, primarily air defense and anti-tank weapons.

In parallel, Syria is procuring sophisticated missiles that would enable it to target military bases inside Israel, in case a confrontation with Hezbollah escalates and Damascus is dragged into the conflict. more at Haaretz

Israeli soldier spray paints swastika on synagogue wall

There is something rotten in the state of Israel.
Police have arrested Vladislav Habas, a 20-year-old soldier from the city of Holon, on suspicion of spray-painting swastikas on the walls of a Tel Aviv Synagogue.

The city's Magistrate's Court decided to extend his remand by one day. Two of the soldier's friends, who were also arrested, were released on bail. (Avi Cohen) ynetnews

Egpyt sends hundreds of police to Rafah to stop essential supplies reaching Gaza

Egypt has sent 500 policemen to Rafah in their collaborationist campaign to stop the smuggling of basic human essentials into Gaza. Pressure is mounting on Egypt to allow the latest solidarity aid convoy to enter Gaza. The Hope Convoy of aid ships is due to arrive in Gaza at the end of May.
Egypt's security forces have recently deployed some 500 policemen and armored vehicles and set up mud and iron roadblocks in the Rafah area, in a bid to fight the Gaza smuggling industry.

An Egyptian security official told the London-based Arabic-language al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper that "the extensive deployment created a lot of tension among the smugglers. Some have began approaching the security barriers from side roads and firing in the air." (Roee Nahmias). ynetnews

Meanwhile, and not disconnected, US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates is visiting Egypt.

Free Gaza Movement ship sinks as prepares to join Hope Convoy - appeal for funds

The SS Dignity aid ship used by the Free Gaza Movement has sunk outside the Cypriot port of Limassol after undergoing repairs. Israel fired on and stormed the aid ship in February when it entered Palestinian territorial waters.We reprint below an urgent appeal from the Free Gaza Movement for financial assistance.The ship was joining the Hope Convoy that will be entering Gaza at the end of this monthDonate here
Dear Friends,

we desperately need your help. It's with heavy hearts that we have to inform you that the Free Gaza ship, the DIGNITY, has been lost outside Larnaca port in Cyprus. Fortunately, no one was injured in the accident.

On 30 December 2008 the DIGNITY was rammed by the Israeli navy while on a mission of mercy to deliver critically needed medical supplies and doctors to the war-ravaged Gaza Strip. Thanks to the heroic efforts of its captain and crew, the DIGNITY was able to find safe harbor in Lebanon, later making its way to Cyprus for repairs. Early this morning we received a call from the Harbor Master in Larnaca, informing us that the ship was taking on water. While attempting to tow her to safety, the ship went down. An inquiry has begun into the circumstances surrounding her demise, possibly due to storm damage suffered during the night.

All of us in Free Gaza are deeply saddened by the loss of the DIGNITY. Since the Free Gaza Movement was founded in 2006 we have worked hard to overcome the siege of Gaza. Israeli policies of racism, ethnic cleansing and the brutal military occupation of Palestine demand our determined & direct resistance. When our governments fail to act, we - the citizens of the world - must stand up and make our voices heard.

To date, the Free Gaza Movement has organized seven voyages to Palestine, successfully arriving in Gaza Port five times. We have brought dozens of human rights workers, journalists, parliamentarians, and others to Gaza, as well as tons of desperately needed medical and humanitarian supplies. Free Gaza boats are the first international ships to sail to the Gaza Strip since 1967.

None of this would have been possible without you, our friends. Your emotional, political, and financial support is the foundation of all our successes.

We're turning to you today, because we need your help now more than ever. Please visit our donate page for more information on how you can help ensure our continuing missions to Palestine. Please give generously.

Despite our loss today, we will not be deterred. In one month we will return to Gaza with the HOPE FLEET, a flotilla of cargo and passengers ships carrying significant amounts of humanitarian and reconstruction aid. Thanks to your support, we will go to Gaza again and again, until this siege is forever ended and the Palestinian people have free access to the rest of the world.

This is our solemn promise.

Sincerely Yours,
Huwaida Arraf
Greta Berlin
Eliza Ernshire
Derek Graham
Fathi Jaouadi
Ramzi Kysia
Vaggelis Pissias
The interim Board of Directors for the Free Gaza Movement

Ex-director of Jewish Policy Research blasts Seven Jewish Children's zionist critics

Excellent article by Antony Lerman at the Guardian this morning on Caryl Churchill's Gaza play, Seven Jewish Children, which has seen its most recent international performance in Montreal, Canada, hosted by Independent Jewish Voices Montreal.

Lerman is the former director of the Institute for Jewish Policy Research and draws this powerful conclusion about why those that level the charge of anti-semitism at the play are so wrong:
How should we explain why they get this play so wrong? I suggest two reasons.

First, they're trapped in a self-generated atmosphere of extreme defensiveness. They genuinely believe that antisemitism is at such a high level, fuelled largely by anti-Zionism, which they regard as mostly antisemitism, that any critical discourse about Jews sets alarm bells ringing. Second, the continued insistence on unmasking anti-Zionist antisemites leads to fatal confusion about what antisemitism is.

I sympathise with those who watch the exchanges over this play's alleged antisemitism with bewilderment. The fight against antisemitism gains nothing from trying to turn the play into an antisemitic incident. All that's achieved is a further slide down the slippery slope towards rendering the word antisemitism meaningless. more

Caryl Churchill's play is anti-war not anti-semitic

Spanish judge opens war crimes investigation against Israel

Yet another investigation into Israeli war crimes has opened. A Spanish judge has okayed an investigation into the killing of 15 people, mostly children, in the murder of Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh in 2002 using a one tonne bomb. Spain, alongside a growing number of countries, considers itself to have universal jurisdiction where war crimes and human rights violations are concerned.

National Court judge Fernando Andreu agreed in January to consider the complaint lodged by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights against former Israeli defence minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer and six senior military officials, sparking strong objections from Israel.

In addition to Ben-Eliezer, the complaint names the army chief of staff at the time, General Moshe Yaalon, and the head of the Israeli air force, General Dan Halutz.

Predictably, Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak dismissed the allegations of war crimes and is lobbying Spanish government to block the decision.

"I intend to contact the Spanish foreign minister and defence minister, and if necessary, the Spanish prime minister in order to act to cancel the order," he told reporters.

"There is no organisation as moral as the IDF (Israel Defence Forces) and I have no doubt that all those who acted then to kill Shehadeh acted with a clear head and with the sole intention of defending Israel's citizens with the available means," he added.

Yeah right.

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights statement on the Spanish investigation

Meanwhile, UN investigators are meeting in Geneva this week to prepare for a fact-finding mission to Israel and Gaza.