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December 18, 2011

The Jews Go To War (With Themselves)

by Lawrence Davidson on December 17, 2011

Part I

On 12 December 2011 hundreds of Israeli settler fanatics besieged a West Bank IDF army base. They destroyed equipment, set fires, and even stoned the base soldiers. This was the second such attack in a month. The cause? Anger over the army’s dismantlement of a small number of isolated, unauthorized settler outposts. The Chief of the Central Command of the Israel “Defense” Forces, Major General Avi Misrahi, is quoted as saying “I have not seen such hatred of Jews towards soldiers during my 30 years of service.” He must not have been looking.

fanatic jewish settlersThis an exceptional event. The subsequent indignation over the attack expressed by Prime Minister Netanyahu (“red lines have been crossed”) was, as Alex Fishman writing in Yedioth Ahronoth put it, staged hypocrisy. The Prime Minister is certainly aware that for some time there has been on-going skirmishing between the settlers and government security forces. Right wing settlers regularly throw rocks and fire bombs at police and army vehicles and “physical altercations” between settlers and Israeli police and soldiers are “almost routine.” This is so despite the fact that the government, both Prime Minister and Knesset, “either tacitly or openly” support the settlers. Then why the hatred and why the attacks?

At this stage the battle is over strategy. The Israeli government wants to gobble up all of Palestine in an orderly step by step fashion. In part, this is to avoid too much international criticism at any particular stage of the process. On the other hand, the settlers don’t give a damn about international opinion – no more than does al-Qaeda, to which they have an unsavory resemblance. Led “by fundamentalist religious leaders who do not recognize the state of Israel and its laws,” they are driven by religious fanaticism and have no respect for governments or their agents. It is their ideological conviction that all of Palestine (including, by the way, Jordan) must be Jewish as soon as possible. The authorities sometime get in the way of this goal and that has led the settlers to, as Fishman puts it, “terrorize not only the Palestinian population but also the police and the army.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu, belatedly noticing an erosion of government authority, has begun to set rules against settler violence when it is directed toward the IDF and police (but not toward the Palestinians). The New York Times reports that from now on such “radical Israelis” attacking soldiers or policemen will be treated just like “Palestinian militants.” That is they will be “detained for long periods without charge and tried in military courts.”

Alas, this new toughness won’t work. For years Israeli governments have looked the other way as thousands of armed religious fanatics organized themselves and got stronger and more self-assured. Now, as Adam Keller of Gush Shalom tells us, “the Golem has turned on its creator.” These are the people who assassinated Yitzhak Rabin. What makes Netanyahu believe that Israel’s present army, police and courts which, reminiscent of the Weimar Republic, regularly show sympathy and leniency toward these criminals, are going to change their attitude on his orders? When a military reporter asked a brigade commander if he was prepared to act toward settler hostility in the same manner as he would Palestinian hostility, he answered “you would not expect me to open fire on a Jew…I am certain you didn’t mean that.”

The reporter would have gotten a very different answer if she had asked the fanatic settlers about how far they were willing to go. Anshel Pfeffer writing in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz notes that “the only red line that has yet to be crossed is a scenario in which an Israeli citizen [belonging to] the extreme settler right would open fire on IDF soldiers. There are those in Israel’s security forces who fear that day is not so distant.”

Netanyahu’s apparent change of heart comes too late. What we have here is incipient civil war. Any really serious effort to stop these fanatics will result in their turning their weapons on those who represent the government. What you sow is what you reap.

Parts II  and III here

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A Man in Tunisia, a Movement on Wall Street, and the Soldier Who Ignited the Fuse

 …a letter from Michael Moore

Saturday, December 17th, 2011

Friends,

It’s Saturday night and I didn’t want the day to end before I sent out this note to you.

One year ago today (December 17th), Mohamed Bouazizi, a man who had a simple produce stand in Tunisia, set himself on fire to protest his government’s repression. His singular sacrifice ignited a revolution that toppled Tunisia’s dictator and launched revolts in regimes across the Middle East.

Three months ago today, Occupy Wall Street began with a takeover of New York’s Zuccotti Park. This movement against the greed of corporate America and its banks — and the money that now controls most of our democratic institutions — has quickly spread to hundreds of towns and cities across America. The majority of Americans now agree that a nation where 400 billionaires have more wealth than 160 million Americans combined is not the country they want America to be. The 99% are rising up against the 1% — and now there is no turning back.

Twenty-four years ago today, U.S. Army Spc. Bradley Manning was born. He has now spent 570 days in a military prison without a trial — simply because he allegedly blew the whistle on the illegal and immoral war in Iraq. He exposed what the Pentagon and the Bush administration did in creating this evil and he did so by allegedly leaking documents and footage to Wikileaks. Many of these documents dealt not only with Iraq but with how we prop up dictators around the world and how our corporations exploit the poor on this planet. (There were even cables with crazy stuff on them, like one detailing Bush’s State Department trying to stop a government minister in another country from holding a screening of ‘Fahrenheit 9/11.’)

The Wikileaks trove was a fascinating look into how the United States conducts its business — and clearly those who don’t want the world to know how we do things in places like, say, Tunisia, were not happy with Bradley Manning.

Mohamed Bouazizi was being treated poorly by government officials because all he wanted to do was set up a cart and sell fruit and vegetables on the street. But local police kept harassing him and trying to stop him. He, like most Tunisians, knew how corrupt their government was. But when Wikileaks published cables from the U.S. ambassador in Tunis confirming the corruption — cables that were published just a week or so before Mohamed set himself on fire — well, that was it for the Tunisian people, and all hell broke loose.

People across the world devoured the information Bradley Manning revealed, and it was used by movements in Egypt, Spain, and eventually Occupy Wall Street to bolster what we already thought was true. Except here were the goods — the evidence that was needed to prove it all true. And then a democracy movement spread around the globe so fast and so deep — and in just a year’s time! When anyone asks me, “Who started Occupy Wall Street?” sometimes I say “Goldman Sachs” or “Chase” but mostly I just say, “Bradley Manning.” It was his courageous action that was the tipping point — and it was not surprising when the dictator of Tunisia censored all news of the Wikileaks documents Manning had allegedly supplied. But the internet took Manning’s gift and spread it throughout Tunisia, a young man set himself on fire and the Arab Spring that led eventually to Zuccotti Park has a young, gay soldier in the United States Army to thank.

And that is why I want to honor Bradley Manning on this, his 24th birthday, and ask the millions of you reading this to join with me in demanding his immediate release. He does not deserve the un-American treatment, including cruel solitary confinement, he’s received in over eighteen months of imprisonment. If anything, this young man deserves a friggin’ medal. He did what great Americans have always done — he took a bold stand against injustice and he did it without stopping for a minute to consider the consequences for himself.

The Pentagon and the national security apparatus are hell-bent on setting an example with Bradley Manning. But we as Americans have a right to know what is being done in our name and with our tax dollars. If the government tries to cover up its malfeasance, then it is the duty of each and every one of us, should the situation arise, to drag the truth, kicking and screaming if necessary, into the light of day.

The American flag was lowered in Iraq this past Thursday as our war on them officially came to an end. If anyone should be on trial or in the brig right now, it should be those men who lied to the nation in order to start this war — and in doing so sent nearly 4,500 Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis to their deaths.

But it is not Bush or Rumsfeld or Cheney or Wolfowitz who sit in prison tonight. It is the hero who exposed them. It is Bradley Manning who has lost his freedom and that, in turn, becomes just one more crime being committed in our name.

I know, I know, c’mon Mike — it’s the holiday season, there’s presents to buy and parties to go to! And yes, this really is one of my favorite weeks of the year. But in the spirit of the man whose birth will be celebrated next Sunday, please do something, anything, to help this young man who spends his birthday tonight behind bars. I say, enough. Let him go home and spend Christmas with his family. We’ve done enough violence to the world this decade while claiming to be a country that admires the Prince of Peace. The war is over. And a whole new movement has a lot to thank Bradley Manning for.

Yours,

Michael Moore
MMFlint@MichaelMoore.com
@MMFlint
MichaelMoore.com

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الشعب السوري The Syrian people, good rap song

[youtube http://youtu.be/m_GlxH4jlaE?]

Thru Revlon :

A great Rap song from defiant Aleppines dedicated to the Syrian revolution:

THE SYRIAN PEOPLE

Hagen Rether on Islamophobia

[youtube http://youtu.be/fpprNYjQjnw?]

Netanyahu for President (of America)

by Alan Hart on December 16, 2011
It’s now clear that the Republican frontrunner in the race for the White House is Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

Officially the two Republican frontrunners are Newt “the Palestinians are an invented people” Gingrich and Mitt “Obama has pushed Israel under a bus” Romney.

Both are political whores locked in a competition of their own as well as with President Obama for Zionist lobby organized campaign funds and American Jewish votes. (In a very close election race the latter could determine who becomes president).

The probability is that Romney will emerge as the winner and be the one to take on Obama. So what Romney said in the last debate with the other Republican candidates is of critical importance. He said:

“If I was president I’d get on the ‘phone to Bibi and say ‘Would it help if I said this?'”

In other words, if Romney becomes president, Netanyahu will the one determining American foreign policy for Israel-Palestine.

Because of Obama’s first-term surrender to the Zionist lobby and its stooges in Congress there’s a case for saying that Netanyahu already is, effectively, the president of America so far as policy for Israel-Palestine is concerned.

So is there no prospect of next November’s election producing a president who will be prepared to put America’s own real interests first by confronting the Zionist monster?

If the Republicans get the key to the White House the answer will be “No”, because a first-term Republican president will not want to destroy his prospects for a second term by making an enemy of the Zionist lobby and its fundamentalist (deluded, even mad)) Christian partners.

But in my view there is a possibility that a second-term Obama might use the leverage all American presidents have to get a real peace process going, even if that means, as it would, challenging the Zionist lobby’s stooges in Congress to decide whether they are Americans first or not. (Those who are not could be condemned and prosecuted as traitors).

It’s not often that I find myself in agreement with anything written by the New York Times‘ op-ed columnist Thomas L. Friedman, but his latest piece under the headline Newt, Mitt, Bibi and Vladimir is a great contribution to the debate about what he calls the “grovelling” to the Zionist lobby of the Republican would-be presidents. (Friedman actually calls it the “Israel lobby”, but as I never tire of saying, that’s not an accurate description of the monster. Israel lobby implies that it speaks for all Israelis and it does not).

Here’s part of what he wrote about the would-be Republican presidents in their last debate.

“Newt Gingrich took the Republican competition to grovel for Jewish votes – by out loving Israel – to a new low by suggesting that the Palestinians are an ‘invented’ people and not a real nation entitled to a state.

“This was supposed to show that Newt loves Israel more than Mitt Romney, who only told the Israeli newspaper Israel Hayom that he would move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem because ‘I don’t seek to take actions independent of what our allies think is best, and if Israel’s leaders thought that a move of that nature would be helpful to their efforts, then that’s something I’ll be inclined to do. … I don’t think America should play the role of the leader of the peace process. Instead, we should stand by our ally.'”

Friedman’s comment on that Romney contribution was:

That’s right. America’s role is to just applaud whatever Israel does, serve as its A.T.M. and shut up. We have no interests of our own. And this guy’s running for president?”

Then Friedman considered the implications of Gingrich’s stated position.

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“As for Newt, well, let’s see. If the 2.5 million West Bank Palestinians are not a real people entitled to their own state, that must mean Israel is entitled to permanently occupy the West Bank and that must mean – as far as Newt is concerned – that Israel’s choices are: (1) to permanently deprive the West Bank Palestinians of Israeli citizenship and put Israel on the road to apartheid; (2) to evict the West Bank Palestinians through ethnic cleansing and put Israel on the road to the International Criminal Court in the Hague; or (3) to treat the Palestinians in the West Bank as citizens, just like Israeli Arabs, and lay the foundation for Israel to become a bi-national state. And this is called being ‘pro-Israel‘?”

Friedman also had something to say about Netanyahu.

“I sure hope he understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby.”

And about his own position and American Jews in general, Friedman wrote this:

“I’d never claim to speak for American Jews, but I’m certain there are many out there like me, who strongly believe in the right of the Jewish people to a state, who understand that Israel lives in a dangerous neighbourhood yet remains a democracy (for how much longer, I ask?) but who are deeply worried about where Israel is going today. My guess is we’re the minority when it comes to secular American Jews. We still care. Many other Jews are just drifting away.”

If many American Jews really are drifting away from support for Israel right or wrong, that could make taking on and defeating the Zionist lobby a more manageable proposition for a second-term President Obama.

* Alan Hart is a former ITN and BBC Panorama foreign correspondent who covered wars and conflicts wherever they were taking place in the world and specialized in the Middle East. Author of Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews. He blogs on www.alanhart.net and tweets on www.twitter.com/alanauthor

The 14 Biggest Lies of 2011

The big fibs that defined our year.

BY DAVID J. ROTHKOPF | DECEMBER 16, 2011

1. “This next summit of European leaders will be decisive …”

We’ve heard this one every few weeks for months now. And every time our supposedly sophisticated financial markets fall for it again. It’s like Lucy with Charlie Brown’s football. When will we learn?

2. “The war in Iraq is finally over after 9 years.”

Much celebration today due to this “fact.” Seems pretty straightforward. But of course, we’ve been militarily engaged one way or another with Iraq since the early 1990s. This is just the end of one of a series of wars in the region. My bet is it’s not the last one.

3. “America’s mission in Iraq was a success.”

See previous lie. The place is divided, undemocratic, heavily influenced by Iran, corrupt, and our invasion cost $1 trillion, thousands of U.S. lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, and our national reputation. Look in the dictionary next to fiasco. There’s a little picture of a dude in a flight jacket standing on a carrier deck in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner.

read about the other 11 here

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